Road To The Olympic Games

Canada's Janyk takes world slalom bronze

Michael Janyk of Whistler, B.C., captured the slalom bronze medal Sunday in the final event of the alpine skiing world championships in Val d'Isere, France.

Michael Janyk of Whistler, B.C., captured the slalom bronze medal Sunday in the final event of the alpine skiing world championships in Val d'Isere, France.

Janyk, 26, used a strong second run on the steep and tricky Bellevarde piste to move up from ninth place after the first run. He finished with a two-run time of one minute 45.70 seconds, 1.53 seconds behind winner Manfred Pranger of Austria.

Julien Lizeroux of France took the silver, 0.31 seconds back of Pranger. They were the only two of the top eight after the first run to complete the second leg.

It was the first world championship medal for Janyk, and the first by a Canadian man in a technical event (slalom and giant slalom).

"I'm very surprised," said Janyk, who finished sixth at the previous worlds in Sweden and whose best World Cup result is a second-place showing in December 2006 in Beaver Creek, Colo. "I knew I was skiing really well this season. I was just waiting for my opportunity and today was the day."

Canada finishes the worlds with two medals. John Kucera of Calgary won gold in last week's downhill to claim the first ever alpine world title by a Canadian man.

Canada hadn't won a slalom medal at the worlds since Nancy Greene captured silver in 1968 at the Olympics in Grenoble, France. At that time, the Olympics doubled as the world championships.

Janyk's bronze put Canada into a tie with Norway for the fifth-best showing by a country in Val d'Isere. The medal standings were led by Switzerland with six, followed by Austria with five, and the United Stated with three. Germany came in fourth with two medals, both gold.

It's an encouraging sign with the Vancouver Olympics one year away.

"This is huge for us," Janyk said. "I live five minutes from the finish line [in Whistler]. We were really pushing. This is what we wanted and we got it. It is good to know I can do it."

Canada's best women's result came from Emily Brydon of Fernie, B.C., who finished 11th in the downhill last Monday.

Miller goes off course again

None of Janyk's teammates managed to complete both slalom legs under tough conditions on Sunday. A fresh layer of ice crusted the course after crews spent Saturday evening tilling the surface and hosing water on the track, which drops 220 metres over its length of just 549 metres.

Thomas Grandi of Canmore, Alta., missed a gate in his second run, while Trevor White of Calgary and Julien Cousineau of Lachute, Que., did the same on their first runs.

Reigning World Cup overall champion Bode Miller skied off course halfway through the first run. The erratic American leaves the worlds without a medal after failing to complete three of his five races.

Current World Cup leader Ivica Kostelic of Croatia didn't compete because of a sore back.

Slalom leader Jean-Baptiste Grange failed to finish his second run.

Only a handful of stops remain on the World Cup circuit, which ends in mid-March with the World Cup finals in Are, Sweden.

Next weekend the women are in Tarvisio, Italy, for three races, including a super-G on Sunday (, bold, 5:25 a.m. ET; CBC, 3 p.m. ET).

The men will be in Sestriere, Italy, for a giant slalom, super-G and super-combined.

With files from the Associated Press

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