Air Canada recovers lost snowboards of Olympic hopefuls

Two Australian snowboarders, Tim Laidlaw and Declan Vogel-Paul, and their coach lost their snowboards on an Air Canada flight that arrived in Montreal's Pierre Trudeau International Airport Monday.

Olympic dreams nearly dashed for Australian snowboarders

Australian Sochi hopeful Declan Vogel-Paul. (Jarrod Wouters)

Air Canada officials say they located the lost snowboards of two Australian snowboarders, Tim Laidlaw and Declan Vogel-Paul, and shipped the equipment to Quebec City Wednesday evening.

The pair of athletes, and their coach, lost their snowboards on an Air Canada flight that arrived from Denver in Montreal's Pierre Trudeau International Airport Monday. 

The Sochi hopefuls were headed to the International Ski Federation​ Snowboarding World Cup, at the Snowboard Jamboree near Quebec City, in hopes of qualifying for the Olympic games.

"We have just advised the team that the snowboards are on an aircraft on their way to Quebec City," said Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur.

To qualify for the Australian Olympic snowboard slopestyle team, athletes must have had a top-three finish at an International Ski Federation World Cup, or another similar qualifying event. If there are additional spots available, athletes ranking in the top 30 world-wide may qualify. 

So far neither Laidlaw nor Vogel-Paul has achieved that standing. But both hoped to reach that goal in the competition that begins Friday.

The three men were travelling on an Air Canada flight between Denver and Montreal, before continuing on to Quebec City. When they arrived in Montreal, they realized their snowboards hadn't made it.

Their coach, Jarrod Wouters, says the snowboarders can't borrow equipment. "It's like a professional golfer trying to use rental clubs," he says. "Each board is quite different. It's not really that simple." 

Wouters confirms the airline has told them the boards should arrive this evening but he says they're not confident as they heard the same promise yesterday. He says one of the athletes will already have missed a practice sessions that could jeopardize his chances during the competition.


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