Friday, December 14, 2012

Can-the Canadians Qualify-More? Please!?

I'll be blunt - last weekend in Quebec sucked. As a Canadian, it hurt to see the big show on home soil, and have come away with a 5th place in the Team Sprint. And have just one athlete qualify for the individual sprint the next day. That stings. And not the little sting that comes with a mosquito bite, but the big, raging sting similar to one that I imagine comes from one of those deadly-looking movie scorpions.

I stuck my neck out a week ago and said that the Canadian World Cups weren't going to be competitive. Well, I didn't just get my head taken off, but just about everything above my ankles, based on how things have gone for the Canucks so far. Ouch for me in the prediction world. The dismal showing in Quebec had about three highlights at max, from my perspective.

What I can only imagine was the saving grace of the Quebec City World Cup for Canadian skiers. Fries and gravy.

First, Alex Harvey showed he is in pretty good shape. The come back in the team sprint after being down and out was quite impressive. Which is good, seeing as he is the defending team sprint World Champion. (On hindsight, this may be a medium point at best...)

Second, Jesse Cockney finished in 32nd place in the qualifier, just .3 of a second from some World Cup points. As it was his first World Cup race ever, that's certainly better than a kick in the teeth.

Third. The huge turnout was great to see, in terms of the sports popularity in North America. Cross country skiing used to be the granola-munching, leg-hair growing, wool-sock wearing, bearded-hippy sport that the cool kids wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole. Now people know it exists! Baby steps people, baby steps.

However, from my close inside sources, I heard they weren't selling beer to the crowd in a manner that allowed you to have a trail-side pint. Yes, in Quebec, of all places. That just about off-sets the above good points.

While Quebec might have been a fiasco as far as performances go, Canmore is the real heart (vomit-inducing term) of Canadian skiing, and is a different beast. My guess is that the altitude, the rock hard snow, the icy tracks, the high speed corners, the wide open finishing straight, and the fact the course is mere meters from the Canadian big guns' beds is going to pay off. Give us something to cheer about!

Half-Arsed Predictions

I realize that I just attempted to write some rousing prose supporting my Canadian country-men and -women. However, I think they're going to find some places 6-30, and not the top 5.

Canadian Men
Valjas, Harvey, Cockney, Russell Kennedy - Top 30
Cockney, Turgeon, McMurtry, Shields - Top 40

Canadian Women
Crawford, Gaiazova - Top 20
Marshall, Nishikawa, Widmer, Kate Brennan - Top 40

American Men
Hamilton - Top 30

American Women
Brooks - Top 20
Bjornsen, Sargent - Top 30
Caldwell - Top 40
Diggins - DNS