New Venues & Growing Momentum
With new courses comes new excitement. Both Andorra and Sochi hosted World Cup events for the first time this week. Luckily, these tracks continued to favour the Canadians and strengthened their momentum that began two weeks ago.
Today's highlight was seeing Ben Thomsen join the ranks as a Canadian Cowboy. To do that, he had to hit the podium which he did for the first time on the new Olympic track. He sailed (literally in some sections as the course boasted some big air) down the course to land on the podium's second step, a mere 0.27 seconds from the win.
On Feb. 1, Thomsen tweeted, "Another day on the white circus. Another training run cancelled from too much snow. Come on weather, help us out. I don't want to go to Aspen."
Aspen is currently holding some Noram Cup races and for Ben, if he wasn't on the world cup, he would still be plugging away to gain position and rank through that circuit. Luckily for all of us, he didn't go to Aspen. Instead, he went on a streak of results with an 11th, a fifth, and finally today's second place finish. Now, that's a hot streak.
But it didn't begin with Ben. It began with Erik Guay hitting the podium in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Ben finishing 23rd. Those two things seem to have given Ben the confidence he needed to go on to start February with unimaginable speed. That buzz of energy Guay's podium sent through the athletes, staff, association, and fans was palpable. That energy has only strengthened since then with the team now totalling four podiums, including Jan Hudec's win in Chamonix.
Not to be forgotten in the excitement of today's podium, is Marie-Michelle Gagnon who finished eighth in Soldeu, Andorra - her best result of the season in Slalom. The women's team is starting to gain their footing and some well needed confidence. The effort and talent is there, now we just need to feed off of the men's momentum!
As a spectator this weekend, all I can say is GO CANADA GO!!!! Confidence & Momentum
People are attracted to success. In every part of life, success sends out this aura that is both attractive and for the most part contagious. It's like there is a glow that comes from success that has a magical aura that projects itself on people's energy levels, and even their abilities. Success can often make things that seemed unattainable suddenly be within your grasp.
Success breeds confidence, and I believe that's the core of its magic. Even in an individual sport, it's incredible how one athlete's performance can lift a team to greater heights. As with the Crazy Canucks, the Speed Queens, and the Canadian Cowboys, it can be seen again and again how one athlete's strength is a team's asset.
This is a part of why retirement and injury hit our women's side so fiercely. We are a very strong nation on the World Cup circuit, however we do not have the depth to rival our competitors. There simply isn't a hundred Erik Guay's and Emily Brydon's waiting to take their spots. The battles to reach success on the world's stage are hard fought and long lasting.
This is quite a hot streak the team is on - it's been a while coming, so it's exciting to see. I suppose after all the Vancouver preparations, we've just trained ourselves to peak in February...not a bad habit to keep up! (In case you're wondering what I mean, February is the month the World Championships and Olympics are held. Therefore, it makes for a great month to be at your best.)Making the Olympic Venue 'Your Place'
Everyone has their favourite venues, and it's usually associated with some early success there. This is why this week in Sochi is so important for all the athletes. It's not so much about the end result - but you definitely want to leave a future Olympic venue with a feeling of ownership. As if you've connected with the venue and the village. The more you feel comfortable and confident there, the more likely you are to return with a strong performance when it counts most - the Olympics.
As the men wrap up their week on the 2014 Olympic track in Sochi the women's circuit is preparing to board planes for their crack at it. Thomsen has certainly left an aura of Canadian strength in Sochi. It is my hope that we'll be able to feed and build upon that energy.
Sochi, say hello to Team Canada. We're getting ready for you, hopefully, you're ready for us!
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