Marielle Thompson captures ski-cross silver, earning Canada its 20th medal of Beijing Games
29-year-old wins her 2nd Olympic medal after earning gold in event at Sochi 2014
Marielle Thompson, of Whistler, B.C., skied to a silver medal in women's ski cross at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on Thursday.
It is the second Olympic medal of the 29-year-old's career after winning gold in the event at Sochi 2014 — and since then, has gone on to become one of the best athletes to ever compete in the sport.
Thompson now has two Olympic medals to go along with her 50 World Cup podium finishes, 25 World Cup wins, world championship and three overall World Cup Crystal Globes.
On Thursday, fresh snow slowed down the Olympic course, but as an experienced skier, and from Canada's snowiest skiing region, Thompson knew how to handle it.
WATCH | Thompson races to ski-cross silver, wins Canada's 20th medal of Games:
"I stuck with it, I knew I was fast at the bottom and knew I could do some single rollers rather than jumping, especially in the slow, fresh snow," she said after the victory ceremony. "I just stuck with it, didn't give up until then and it worked out for me."
Sweden's Sandra Naeslund won her first Olympic gold medal, continuing a strong season where she has won all nine World Cup races, including the test event on the Olympic track in November.
The 29-year-old Swiss skier recently came back from injury after getting tangled up with Thompson in a January race in Nakiska, Alta., landing her in a quick rehab program and putting her Olympics in doubt.
Maier, who took the eventual bronze medal, had ACL surgery a year ago.
Exceptional Canadian performances
Entering the Olympic Games, Team Canada could not send its entire World Cup contingent of racers, with only the top four that met Alpine Canada standards being allowed into four allotted spots from the International Ski Federation.
Courtney Hoffos, Brittany Phelan, and Hannah Schmidt joined Thompson on the Canadian team, and all four Canadians qualified for the semifinals, ensuring at least one Canadian a chance at a podium in the event.
- Marielle Thompson on familiar road to recovery as she pursues another ski cross gold medal in Beijing
For the Canadian team, having the maximum number of racers allowed for a country was not just an achievement before the race, but making the maple leaf half of the final eight was unheard of in Olympic ski-cross racing.
Thompson bounces back from injury
For Thompson, getting back to the Olympic podium was a long time coming.
In 2017, an ACL tear before PyeongChang 2018 nearly forced her out of the Games, but a quick recovery saw her make the Olympic start gate. However, despite her quick rehab and determination, she failed to advance past the quarter-finals.
In March 2021, she tore her same ACL during a race in Sunny Valley, Russia, and had just 10 months to recover in time to reach the Olympic podium. While the 2021-22 season has not been up to Thompson's Crystal Globe standards, she has four podium finishes, one gold medal and now an Olympic silver.
With her silver medal, Thompson continues the tradition of Canadians winning Olympic medals in women's ski cross. Since the event's Olympic debut and Ashleigh McIvor's gold medal at Vancouver 2010, Canada has medalled at every Games since.
"I got to watch Vancouver live, so to have the Olympic atmosphere was inspiring," Thompson said. "I knew that someday I would like to make it to the Olympics — and to have a gold medal and a silver medal, I am overjoyed."
Ski cross is not over for the Canadians at Beijing 2022, with the men taking on the course on Friday with qualifications starting at 10:45 p.m. ET.
All the action will be streaming live on CBC Gem, the CBC Sports app and CBC Sports' Beijing 2022 website.