Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa bolstered Canada’s medal count at Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games by winning gold and silver respectively in the ladies’ ski cross on Friday at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
The fourth double podium for Canada – third 1-2 finish – of the Games marks two Canadian Olympic Team records. Canada previously had three double podium finishes in Turin. All double podiums in Sochi have come in freestyle skiing.
The two women from British Columbia took different paths to get to the Big Final. Thompson won her semifinal with relative ease. Serwa however, came from behind to edge two competitors in a photo finish to go second in her semifinal heat.
In the Big Final the two Canadians raced out first from the gate ahead of their French and Swedish counterparts.
France’s Ophelie David made a bid to break up the cozy Canadians but fell mid-course, allowing Sweden’s Anna Holmund to take bronze medal.
“It’s crazy. I don’t think it’s even sunk in yet. I just had a big wave of emotion,” Thompson said of her gold medal run. “I’m so so happy, especially to be up there with my teammate.”
“It is the most awesome thing ever and I am so happy for Marielle,” Serwa said matching her teammate’s jubilation. “It was amazing to ski across the line and give Marielle a big hug.”
The result was a measure of redemption for Canadian ski cross team. A day earlier in the men’s event Brady Leman was boxed out by three skiers from France, ultimately resulting in crashing out of the podium.
Canada initially entered the women’s race with three competitors. Georgia Simmerling – another BC athlete – suffered a hard fall and did not finish (DNF) in the quarterfinals. She was in a heat that was won by Serwa.
At the conclusion of ladies’ ski cross, six of Team Canada’s eight gold medals at Sochi 2014 have come from women in individual and team events. Thompson and her teammate enjoy a supportive relationship.
“We’re all about girl power from the start. We’re just having fun all day. I know Kelsey, and we tried to help each other all the way down the course.”