Canadian Leman clinches ski-cross silver
Canada's Brady Leman continued his remarkable comeback from three broken legs, racing to silver at a ski-cross World Cup and reclaiming the leader's bib.
The Calgary native was edged at the line by Alex Fiva of Switzerland in a photo finish.
Leman has suffered three broken legs since 2009, derailing his chances to compete at the 2010 Olympics. But a victory in last month's season-opener, coupled with Saturday's silver has the Canadian confident that he can not only race with the best in the world, he can consistently beat them.
"It's kind of gratifying I guess, I've put in a lot of work off the hill, and paid a lot of dues off-hill to reap these rewards, so it's nice, it's cool," Leman said on a conference call. "I think it's shocking a lot of people that don't get to see me on a daily basis, and the only people who aren't surprised are me and my team and my coaches."
The 25-year-old Leman regained the red bib as the overall World Cup leader.
"I can't say I was expecting to be here, but I was definitely hopeful," Leman said. "It' awesome, it' fun to race, this was a wicked atmosphere at this race. . . just smiling all afternoon, and hopefully I can keep it going."
Daniel Bohnacker of Germany won the bronze. Christopher del Bosco of Montreal was seventh.
Ophelie David of France won gold in the women's race. Anna Woerner of Germany took the silver and Alizee Baron of France won bronze.
Marielle Thompson of Whistler, B.C., was the top Canadian in eighth place.
Kelsey Serwa of Kelowna, B.C., who won the first two events of the season, remained in the overall lead with 226 points.
Leman won his quarter- and semifinal en route to the final, where he stalked Fiva down the course.
"I knew that was going to have one shot at the line, I was thinking that the whole way down and was kind of setting it up, and just ran out of room," Leman said. "Another metre or so and I would have had him."
Canadian assistant coach Willy Raine said he saw Leman during breakfast on race morning and thought he looked ready for a big day.
"I said, 'Dude, I've got a good feeling about you today,"' said Raine. "He responded by saying, 'I've got a good feeling about myself too."'
Leman's result was the highlight of a dramatic day of racing for the Canadian team, that included a couple of falls by world champion Chris Del Bosco.
The Montreal native, who's still seeking his first podium finish of the season, finished seventh. Tristan Tafel, of Canmore, Alta., was 15th, while Stan Rey, of Whistler, B.C., was 19th.
Marielle Thompson of Whistler, B.C., fell in the small final and finished eighth.
Serwa, the reigning women's world champion, was eliminated in her quarter-final heat when she got tangled up with another racer and hit the deck. She got back up but didn't make it through to the semifinals and finished 10th.