Ottawa Citizen

Canadians on verge of history in ski cross

- TERRY BELL

VANCOUVER • Marielle Thompson of Whistler, B.C., and Brady Leman of Calgary have chances to make Canadian World Cup history next weekend.

Thompson, 19, earned the second World Cup ski cross race win of her career Saturday, blowing away the rest of the women’s field at Branas, Sweden, to take a 10-point lead over France’s Ophelie David in the overall standings.

Leman, finally healthy this season after breaking a leg three times in the previous 2½ seasons, finished fourth Saturday, but still leads Swiss skier Alex Fiva by seven points (425-418) heading into the final two races of the season next weekend at Grindelwal­d, Switzerlan­d.

No Canadian has ever won a ski cross Crystal Globe.

“I came into the year with confidence coming off the win at nationals, but I don’t know what I would have thought,” Thompson said Saturday when asked how she would have reacted had someone suggested that she’d be leading with just two races to go.

“I’d have thought, maybe, but definitely not a confident maybe.”

Thompson, in just her second World Cup season, won at Blue Mountain in Ontario on Feb. 3. She has a second, two thirds and 490 points this season, 10 more than David, who was third Saturday, just behind Emilie Serain of Switzerlan­d.

Canada has excelled in this sport, winning the Nations Cup the past three seasons as the overall men’s and women’s combined points leader. Whistler’s Ashleigh Mcivor won the 2010 Olympic gold medal and Kelsey Serwa of Kelowna, B.C., is the 2011 world and X Games champion. Montreal’s Chris Del Bosco is also the 2011 world champ. He has gold from the 2010 and 2012 X Games, but Canada has never had a racer win the Crystal Globe.

“I was surprised by that,” Thompson said. “I hadn’t really thought about it, but it would be pretty cool to be that person. Hopefully, I’ll keep it going and we’ll have a couple (her and Leman)..”

Del Bosco finished ninth Saturday after colliding with teammate Nic Zoricic of Toronto in their quarter-final, and he’s now fifth with 346 points. Zoricic finished 13th.

Jouni Pellinen of Finland won Saturday. Filip Flisar of Slovenia was second and Andreas Matt of Austria was third.

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