Olympic ski cross champ Brady Leman scores World Cup bronze
Canadian reaches podium at event in Italy; Marielle Thompson 4th in women's race
Olympic ski cross champion Brady Leman raced to bronze at the World Cup event in Innichen, Italy, on Friday.
Leman, 32, finished behind siblings Jonathan Midol and Bastien Midol of France. The Calgary resident took gold at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February.
Canadian Chris Del Bosco was eighth and Kevin Drury of Toronto placed 10th.
WATCH | Brady Leman lands on World Cup podium in Italy:
Leman went head-to-head against Del Bosco in the semifinal, with Del Bosco finishing third to end up in the small final where he attempted a tight pass and crashed.
"Racing here in Italy is always really tight. Every run is just a battle. There are places to pass the whole way down, and lots of guys are skiing really fast so it's important to be really clean," said Leman.
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"It was a tough heat in the finals and I skied some of my best to get third."
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Fanny Smith of Switzerland, the bronze medallist in Pyeongchang, reached the top of the podium on the women's side. Sweden's Sandra Naeslund took silver, with Marielle Sabbatel Berger of France rounding out the top three.
Abby McEwen finished sixth and India Sherret eighth for Canada. Kelsey Serwa and Brittany Phelan, who posted a 1-2 finish in Pyeongchang, were 12th and 17th, respectively.
"I had no idea what was going to happen. It was very nerve-wracking, but really fun," McEwen said of her first World Cup small final.
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"I had a big smile on my face in the start gate. I just wanted to go fast. I had no idea how I was going to end up. It is a tricky course, very icy but in my small final I was out of the gate second and was able to hold on."
A second World Cup race in Innichen is scheduled for Saturday at 5:15 p.m. ET and can be seen live on CBCSports.ca.
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With files from The Canadian Press