Sport Shorts: Thrilling Action Across the World

The ‘Ole One-Two in Bobsleigh: For the first time, two Canadian women’s bobsleigh teams finished gold-silver at a World Cup. In Altenberg, Germany, Kaillie Humphries (Calgary) and Heather Moyse (Summerside, P.E.I.) won gold with a new track record and a new start record to boot. Just behind them were Calgary’s Helen Upperton and Edmonton’s Jenny Ciochetti in silver medal position.

In the men’s two-man race, Lyndon Rush (Humboldt, Sask.) and Lascelles Brown (Calgary) finished 5th, a personal-best result. Then on Sunday, Rush was back at it, finishing a stellar 4th in the four-man race with an all-Calgary crew of Chris Le Bihan, Dan Humphries and Lascelles Brown.

Osborne-Paradis Wins Gold… Again: Manuel Osborne-Paradis is not letting up his surge toward 2010. The Vancouver ski racer won his second World Cup gold medal in downhill of the season Saturday in Val Gardena, Italy. He led the pack of Canadians that included Robbie Dixon (Whistler) in 6th, Erik Guay (Mont-Tremblant, Que.) in 11th and Jan Hudec (Calgary) in 36th spots. Guay also had an excellent super-G race, finishing 7th.

Can’t Cross Them: Watch out for the thrilling sport of snowboard cross at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Here iss a preview, courtesy of the World Cup team on Saturday in Telluride, Colorado. On the ladies side, Maelle Ricker and Dominique Maltais (Petite-Riviere Saint-Francois, Que.) won gold and bronze medals respectively while Rob Fagan (Squamish, B.C.) snatched silver on the men’s side. Ricker (Squamish) leads the World Cup standings, ahead of Maltais in 2nd spot. Fagan’s silver ensures that he has a shot at the 2010 Olympic Team.

Earlier, on Thursday in parallel giant slalom, Jasey-Jay Anderson (Mont-Tremblant) and Michael Lambert (Toronto) won gold and silver in a World Cup. For Anderson, it was his 25th World Cup victory in all disciplines. For Lambert, it assured him a qualification for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

She’s the Sharp Shooter: Biathlete Zina Kocher (Red Deer, Alta.) shot an incredible 20 out of 20 for the first time in her career on Sunday en route to a huge 4th-place finish at a World Cup in Pokljuka, Slovenia. It is the 2nd-best result of her career and it came in the exciting 10 km pursuit race. (Three years ago, Kocher won World Cup bronze.) The top Canadian man continues to be Jean-Philippe Le Guellec (Shannon, Que.) raced his way to 13th place in the 12.5 km pursuit, missing just two shots on the range. Other results: Megan Tandy (Prince George, B.C.) 35th, Megan Imrie (Falcon Lake, Man.) 51st and Brendan Green (Hay River, N.W.T.) 54th.

Omischl Closing In: Steve Omischl, arguably Canada’s best-ever freestyle aerialist, started off the season with 4th- and 5th-place finishes in Changchun, China. The North Bay, Ont. native who resides in Kelowna, B.C. couldn’t quite step to the podium as he seeks to defend his World Cup aerials title from last season. Sabrina Guerin (Laval, Que.) was 7th on Friday in her sophomore season, while Olivier Rochon (Gatineau, Que.) landed a quad-twisting triple somersault then a triple-twisting triple somersault to finish a strong 6th.

Skiers Race Toward 2010: At the Canadian cross-country ski trials in Canmore, B.C., Drew Goldsack won the men’s classic-ski race on Sunday after shaking off the flu and an ankle injury that hampered him for the past year. He is now primed for a second Olympic shot, after Torino. In that race, Brent McMurtry (Calgary) and Graham Nishikawa (Whitehorse) finished 2nd and 3rd. On the women’s side, Dasha Gaiazova (Banff, Alta.) has won each of the three selection races after Sunday’s sprint win. Gaiazova is coming on strong after being a 2006 Olympic alternate. On Sunday, Perianne Jones (Almonte, Ont.) was 2nd and Shayla Swanson (Calgary) was 3rd.

Meanwhile, on the World Cup circuit, Alex Harvey (St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que.) finished 22nd in the 30 km mass start race while Sara Renner (Canmore) was 24th in her 15 km mass start race. Both results are very encouraging. The team is now off until New Year’s Day, for a Tour de Ski competition in Davos, Switz.

Pain Leads Canada: At a skeleton World Cup in Altenberg, Germany, Jeff Pain (Calgary) finished a hair off the podium in 4th place on Friday. In the first heat, he had posted the fastest time. Pain is the 2006 Olympic silver medallist. Jon Montgomery (Russell, Man.) was 7th and Mike Douglas (Toronto) was 11th. Fighting off flu symptoms, Mellisa Hollingsworth (Eckville, Alta.) was 6th place, missing the podium for only the first time this season. Amy Gough (Abbotsford, B.C.) was 7th and Michelle Kelly (Fort St. John, B.C.) was 10th.

Sinclair Makes it Five: Burnaby, B.C. has likely produced no better soccer player than Christine Sinclair. Canada’s all-time leader in international goals – 99 in 132 games – and career starts was named women’s player of the year by the Canadian Soccer Association. Sinclair scored six goals for FC Gold Pride in the Women’s Professional Soccer league.

Winning the award for the first time on the men’s side is Simeon Jackson (Mississauga), who had an excellent club season with Gillingham FC but who also helped Canada reach the quarter-finals at the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He played seven games with the national team this year.