Three Alpine Skiers added to Canadian Olympic Team
The Canadian Olympic Committee announced that three female athletes have officially been nominated to the Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic alpine skiing team. The three ladies: Marie-Michèle Gagnon (Lac-Etchemin, QC); Brittany Phelan (Mont-Tremblant, QC); and Larisa Yurkiw (Owen Sound, ON) were nominated during an announcement at Quebéc City Hall.
A young and talented ladies’ team will head to Sochi 2014 with plenty of momentum. Last weekend marked the first time a Canadian has won a super combined World Cup race when Gagnon claimed victory in Altenmarkt, Austria.
“I’m so humbled to have a chance to win a medal for Canada at the Olympic Games in Sochi,” added Yurkiw. “It’s an honour and an opportunity of a lifetime to wear our country’s colours.”
“Success is not simply a destination. Rather, it is a collection of efforts that together result in making that small difference,” said Marcel Aubut, President, Canadian Olympic Committee. “Our alpine athletes know that hard work and the quest to improve each and every day is what it takes to win. On behalf of the entire Canadian Olympic family, congratulations to Marie-Michèle, Brittany and Larisa – I know you will do us proud.”
The athletes were officially introduced by three-time Olympian and alpine skiing icon, Mélanie Turgeon, who joined Aubut on stage to officially award each Sochi-bound athlete their official HBC Olympic Team jacket.
“I’m part of a really great team. We all came up together – we’re young and we work hard and support each other, but we also have fun together,” Gagnon said. “My teammates and the coaches and support staff are a big part of my success and I wouldn’t be here today without them. My family and my community, the Province of Quebec, are also a big part of my team and being able to represent Canada at the Olympic Games is such a great honour.
The trio represent the first female alpine skiers added to Canada’s Olympic team, following the nomination last week of speed skiers Erik Guay, Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Jan Hudec. All six qualified by meeting the Tier 1 qualification criteria, which is two top-12 World Cup results with at least one from this season. The alpine qualification window remains open until Jan. 26, when other male and female racers will be added to Canada’s Olympic team.
“As a coaching staff, we know their Road to Sochi has not always been easy but their determination, passion and commitment – as well as their talent – has made us extremely proud and we know that they are going to make Canada proud in Sochi,” added coach Tim Gfeller.
“As our best female alpine skiers take on the slopes in Sochi at electrifying speed, they will know that Canada is by their side, encouraging them every step of the way,” said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). “Congratulations on making the team, and good luck in your preparations leading up to the Olympic Winter Games.”
“Québec City is proud to be hosting the women’s team that will represent Canada in alpine skiing at the Olympic Games in Sochi,” said Régis Labeaume, Mayor, Québec City. “The athletes in the capital city today are models of courage and determination for our youth. I know that everyone in Québec joins me in wishing them the best of luck.”
Canada has had success in ladies’ alpine events at Olympic Games, led by legends such as Nancy Greene and Karen Percy, who each have earned two Olympic medals for Canada. Kerrin Lee-Gartner was the last woman to win an alpine medal for Canada when she won gold in downhill in 1992. In total, Canada has 10 Olympic medals in both men’s and ladies’ events. Of those 10, eight have been won by Canadian women.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place from February 7-23, 2014. The Canadian Olympic Team has set a goal to contend for the top spot in overall medals won.
These three alpine skiers now join three male alpine skiers, 10 speed skaters, 10 Curling athletes, 16 bobsledders, seven lugers, four skeleton athletes, 21 women hockey players, eight biathletes, five snowboarders, 25 men hockey players, 17 figure skaters and 11 cross-country skiers as the next members on the Canadian Olympic Team. Up to six more teams will be announced between now and February.