How Guay the Great bounced back to make alpine history
In a span of just eight days, Erik Guay not only tied but broke the Canadian record for most World Cup podiums by an alpine skier, earning him well-deserved Athlete of the Week honours.
Guay entered the 2013-14 season with 19 career podiums, trailing Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Team Chef de Mission and Crazy Canuck Steve Podborski by just one. But no one was sure quite what to expect after he underwent surgery in July. Determined, Guay returned to snow in October and was ready to compete at the first World Cup downhill of the season at Lake Louise in late November.
In December, the series shifted to Europe for the classic downhill races, some of which have been on the World Cup schedule since the circuit began in the late 1960s. On December 21st, Guay claimed his first career win and fifth career podium (three downhill, two super-G) on the Saslong course at Val Gardena. It was his first World Cup victory since March 2010.
One week and one day later, Guay won bronze at another Italian mountain, finishing third in the Stelvio downhill for his first career podium at Bormio.
“For the first time in my career I know why I’m fast and I feel like I can be fast anywhere and on any course.”
“It’s awesome to set the record and especially in Bormio, a place where I’ve never had a podium before,” said Guay. “It was huge to be able to tie Steve Podborski’s record and to be able to beat it a week later is really special.”
“It was important to finish the year strong and we’re totally happy with the situation we find ourselves in with Erik,” said Martin Rufener, head coach of the Canadian men’s World Cup team. “Sometime when you get back from an injury and a longer rest it gives your body another kick. When you get results like this it helps with the mental strength and confidence. It’s so important to have Erik as the team leader, showing that he’s on top of the world.”
“For the first time in my career I know why I’m fast and I feel like I can be fast anywhere and on any course,” said Guay. ”Sochi is the big one this year but as an athlete you always focus on individual races. Right now Sochi is in the future and I’m looking forward to getting home and spending some time with my family.”
The men’s downhill will open the Olympic alpine events on February 9 with the men’s super-G on February 16.
Between now and then Guay will compete on several other classic courses including Wengen, Switzerland (January 18), Kitzbuehel, Austria (January 25) and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (February 1). He’s been on the podium before at both Kitzbuehel and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, including his downhill world title at the latter in 2011.
Guay the Great
First World Cup Podium: November 29, 2003 – Downhill (Silver) – Lake Louise
First World Cup Victory: February 24, 2007 – Downhill – Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Total World Cup Podiums: 21 (4 gold, 8 silver, 9 bronze)
World Cup Podiums by Event:
Downhill – 15 (2 gold, 6 silver, 7 bronze)
Super-G – 6 (2 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze)
World Cup Podiums by Season:
2003-04: 1 (1 silver)
2005-06: 3 (2 silver, 1 bronze)
2006-07: 5 (1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze)
2008-09: 1 (1 bronze)
2009-10: 3 (2 gold, 1 bronze)
2010-11: 2 (1 silver, 1 bronze)
2011-12: 2 (1 silver, 1 bronze)
2012-13: 2 (1 silver, 1 bronze)
2013-14: 2 (1 gold, 1 bronze)