Alpine Canada: Team Canada Wins First Ever Silver in Team Events

This article was originally published on the Alpine Canada website.

Yet again, Canada proves to the world they can compete with the best of the best in the ski world, winning the silver medal in the Alpine Team Event at the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail-Beaver Creek.

Canada, although ranked 10th in the world leading into Tuesday Team Event, knew they could be on the podium. In the first round, the Canadian team faced their biggest challenge, competing against the 7th seeded German team.  With a bit of luck and some outstanding skiing, the team successfully moved on to face the 2nd ranked Italian team.  They swiftly defeated the talented Italians and prepared for a tough round against the 6th ranked Swedes, again demonstrating exceptional technical ability, perseverance and determination.  

For the first time ever, Canada made it through to the big final, taking on the power house Austrians who were looking for their fourth World Championship title in the Team Event.  In the nail-bitter final round, the 1st seeded Austrians defended their 2013 World title, winning the 2015 Alpine Team Event.

Team Canada consisted of a spitfire group of young and talented Canadian’s. The youngest Canadian athlete was Collingwood’s Candace Crawford, who in the first run skied aggressively, took a lot of risk and crashed two gates from the finish. Crawford dusted herself off, regained her composure and continued to compete, proving she was a force to be reckoned with. Toronto’s Phil Brown, showed strength and consistency right from the start, dominating his runs against the German and Italian teams.

Erin Mielzynski of Toronto, ON was the clear team leader of team Canada, sweeping all 4 of her races.  She showed pure speed, consistency and precision in each of her runs. In the big final, Trevor Philp of Calgary, AB had a miraculous recovery after catching an edge, almost coming back to steal the lead from Austrian’s Christoph Noesig, which resulted in Canada finishing just +0.11 back and securing Canada’s first ever-medal in the Team Event.

Marie-Pier Prefontaine and Erik Read were the teams alternates for Tuesday’s race.

“I could not be more excited about today’s result,” said Martin Rufener the Athlete Director of the Canadian Alpine team. “We have a young, exciting team, who since training together for this race, have been only positive and shown confidence.”

“This race shows that we have a strong technical team. It also proves that with our young team there is a really bright future for Canada.”

Mielzynski and Brown, both raced the Team Event in 2013 in Schladming, Austria. The Canadian team just missed the bronze, losing to Germany in the small final by 0.01 sec – the smallest of margins to lose by.

This action-packed Team Event consisted of 16 teams, which can be made up of up to six athletes (three males, three females). Teams go head-to-head in knockout rounds in hopes to make it to the finals – which our Canadians did.

At the moment, ski racing fans will only see nations compete in the Team Event at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, however Thomas Bach of the IOC has alluded optimistically that ski fans may see this event join the future Olympic schedule. “We have been discussing the program with FIS and you may have some good news in the next couple of months. I hope very much that we can finalize these decisions before the IOC session in July,” said Bach.

This win for Canada is perfect timing as the technical races begin on Thursday.  This silver medal will help the team continue to build their confidence leading into the last 4 races of the World Championships. The next race is the Ladies’ Giant Slalom taking place Thursday.