Erik Guay wins bronze in downhill World Cup final, Peter Fill clinches title
Canadian Yurkiw caps successful women's season
Canada's Erik Guay won bronze in the downhill World Cup final Wednesday in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Guay, from Mont Tremblant, Que., earned his first podium of the season, finishing 0.54 of a second behind winner Beat Feuz of Switzerland. American Steven Nyman was second, just 0.08 of a second back of Feuz.
But the big winner was Peter Fill, who finished 10th to become the first Italian to win the World Cup men's downhill season title.
Fill started the race level on points with Aksel Lund Svindal, who has been sidelined with a knee injury since January, and four points above Dominik Paris, who was not at his best after crashing in training on Tuesday and injuring his thigh and knee.
Paris skied aggressively but was clearly struggling and finished 19th. Fill was last to go and knew he just needed to finish safely to clinch the title, so was taking no chances on the tricky Corviglia course with snow falling.
"It's a very important day," said a beaming Flavio Roda, the president of the Italian ski federation. "It's something which has never been achieved by Italians so it's very emotional.
"We need to celebrate these guys, especially Peter. This is the most important present for him. I'll just give him a hug."
Guay wound up in a tie for 12th place in the downhill season standings. Fellow Canadian Manny Osborne-Paradis, who placed 14th in the final, ended the season in 21st.
Guay had mixed feelings about the season coming to a close.
"At the start of this season I had some equipment changes and a new serviceman, along with a new coach, so there was lots of fine-tuning to do, but I feel pretty dialled in now and I almost wish the season was prolonged for a bit.
"I'm really looking forward to heading home and spending some time with my girls and hopefully getting on the ski hill a bit to take advantage of family life."
Guay, 34, doesn't know if he'll ski long enough to compete in the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.
"If I had another serious injury, that would be it for me," he said. "I also have a family at home that I have to take care
of and I want to be able to play sports with them. And if I have a season where I'm not competitive and I'm consistently outside where I want to be, then yeah, that would be the end of it as well."
Canada's Yurkiw caps fine season
Canadian Larisa Yurkiw completed a successful women's downhill season after placing 17th in Wednesday's final at St. Moritz.
Yurkiw finished third — behind American Lindsey Vonn and Switzerland's Fabienne Suter — in the standings after a season in which the Owen Sound, Ont., native reached the podium three times — tops among all Canadian alpine skiers.
Vonn, who is out with a knee injury, had already clinched the downhill crystal globe before Wednesday's race, which was won surprisingly by Austria's Mirjam Puchner in her first time on a World Cup podium. Suter placed second to leapfrog Yurkiw in the season standings.
Switzerland's Lara Gut, who is already assured of the overall title, placed 13th Wednesday.
Vonn secured the downhill title before her crash in a super-G in Andorra last month and was in St. Moritz to pick up her 20th crystal globe. That broke the mark of 19 crystal globes held by Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden. It was one of several records Vonn broke this season and she is now only 10 behind Stenmark's all-time mark of 86 victories.
"I feel like I had a really great year," Vonn said. "Nine wins and to be able to still take home one globe at least even though I had to end my season early it means a lot because you work so hard and I was so close, I was leading four titles when I got hurt so to still have at least one, that was huge so I'm pretty excited about it."
The World Cup finals continue Thursday with the women's super-G (CBCSports.ca, 4:45 a.m. ET) and men's super-G (CBCSports.ca, 6:15 a.m. ET).
Gut is only 19 points behind Vonn in the super-G standings heading into the final race.
"I don't think super-G will hold but weirder things have happened in skiing," Vonn said. "I'll be at the finish tomorrow and maybe a miracle will happen."
With files from The Associated Press