Kelsey Serwa surprised even herself Friday at the world freestyle ski championships.
Serwa, of Kelowna, B.C., captured the women's ski cross event ahead of Julia Murray of Whistler, B.C., after surviving a finish-line in her gold-medal performance at the Winter X Games last week. The 21-year-old required four hours of physiotherapy daily just to ensure she could compete here as she was dealing with a bruised tailbone, sprained thumb and injured ribs.
"I was super fortunate to come out of that with nothing broken," Serwa said during a conference call. "But I can't believe that I won, it still really hasn't set in yet.
"Right now I'm pretty sore but I'm really excited that Julie and I were 1-2. My goal was to win this race but after my X Games crash I wasn't sure if that would be possible. Two days ago I was walking but I had a hard time getting out of bed and moving in general and I actually skipped all the training days on the course just so I could recover."
Swedish skier Anna Holmlund took third place.
Chris Del Bosco of Sudbury, Ont., helped make it a Canadian sweep by winning the men's competition.
Murray, too, was shocked with her run considering she competed despite having meniscus and cartilage damage in her knee suffered at the X Games.
"It was surprise to me, even, that I got podium," she said. "I know I have it in me but my knee was really sore and we were talking about just going right home after this and getting a scope done and cleaning things up in there.
"That doesn't really boost the confidence too much but I took a lot of Tylenol and I pushed through it."
Serwa took advantage of the top three seeds losing in earlier rounds, including Germany's Heidi Zacher —who came in ranked No. 1 in the world —to claim the women's title.
Del Bosco earned the no. 1 seed in qualifying and finished first in three of the four rounds he raced. He won his opening round and quarter-final heat before finishing second in his semifinal event. The top two from each heat advanced.
Del Bosco thought he had pretty much killed his chances for victory in the final with a less than impressive start to the race. But he was able to make a move into first at the third corner and then never looked back.
"This is a really special title to have," Del Bosco said. "You only get the chance once every two years.
"I had some tough luck at the last world championships in Japan and then (last year's) Olympics, I was fourth in both of those events. I was kind of starting to wonder about these big events and I guess the third time is the charm. I managed to get it done this time.
Del Bosco was a fourth at the Vancouver Winter Olympics when a crash on the final jump took him out of the running for a bronze medal.
Finland's Jouni Pellinen finished second and Matt took third.
Del Bosco said he also drew inspiration from Serwa's and Murray's finish in the women's event.
"That was huge," he said. "So when it was my turn I didn't want to let anybody down."