Marielle Thompson, Brady Leman gear up for ski cross World Cup
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Canada's top ski cross athletes will be aiming for another trip to the podium as the World Cup resumes for a doubleheader event starting on Saturday in Feldberg, Germany.
North Vancouver, B.C., native Marielle Thompson enters the competition as the ladies' overall leader with 620 points after eight world cup events this season.
The 2014 Olympic champion is coming off a gold-medal performance in Watles, Italy, on Jan. 15 — her fourth win of the season.
The 24-year-old Thompson leads the overall standings by a wide margin – she's 197 points clear of her closest competitor, Switzerland's Fanny Smith. Heidi Zacher of Germany rounds out the top-three with 413 points — 10 back of Smith.
Thompson jumped out to a quick lead in the World Cup standings after starting the season with gold in three of the campaign's first four events.
Simmerling out after crash
Missing from this weekend's action will be Thompson's teammate, and fellow North Vancouver, B.C., native Georgia Simmerling who will be out at least two weeks following a crash in a semifinal run in Italy on Jan. 15.
Prior to the injury – which included a concussion and torn knee ligament – Simmerling had performed well after spending more than 20 months off skis while training for and competing at the Rio Olympics. The 27-year-old multi-sport athlete told CBC Sports on Thursday that she hopes to return for the World Cup finals at Blue Mountain, Ont., on March 5.
SENT IT DEEEEEEP. Too deep. Concussion, torn MCL, bit tongue, broken rib deep. Hopefully back racing for <a href="https://twitter.com/BlueMtnResort">@BlueMtnResort</a>! 🙏<a href="https://twitter.com/B2ten">@B2ten</a> <a href="https://t.co/wYRPHgoe9G">pic.twitter.com/wYRPHgoe9G</a>—@gsimmerling
Simmerling won a bronze medal in women's track cycling team pursuit and in doing so, was also the first Canadian athlete to compete in three different Olympic sports at three different Olympics (alpine skiing at Vancouver in 2010, ski cross at Sochi in 2014, and track cycling team pursuit at Rio last summer).
Simmerling is currently fifth in the women's standings with 336 points.
Leman in striking distance
On the men's side, Calgary's Brady Leman is off to a solid start, currently in second in the overall standings with 407 points — 60 points out of first place.
Although Leman hasn't won a competition this season, he has four second-place finishes in eight events. Most recently, he placed second on back-to-back days in Watles and only trails France's Jean Frederic Chapuis for the lead.
Kevin Drury has also posted strong results and is currently seventh in the world cup standings with 239 points.
The 28-year-old's best world cup finish this season was fourth in Montafon, Austria.
You can catch more ski cross action on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. on Road to the Olympic Games, our weekly show spotlighting the best high-performance athletes from Canada and around the world.