Canadians can’t come through in downhill, while Matthias Mayer becomes second-generation medalist, Bode Miller misses out

Sunday's alpine skiing downhill had potential for Canada, with four top racers (Erik Guay, Jan Hudec, Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Benjamin Thomsen) competing, but in the end, they were shut out of the medals. Guay recorded the best Canadian finish, placing 10th overall with a time of 2:07:04, while Thomsen was 19th, Hudec was 21st and Osbourne-Paradis was 25th. While none of the Canadians were favourites here (in fact, the data-based predictions from Infostrada don't have Canada winning a single alpine skiing medal in any discipline), the end result is still a little disappointing, as all of the Canadian skiers had at least a shot at the podium.

This is probably the most disappointing for Guay, who's come exceptionally close to Olympic medals before. He finished fifth in the downhill in Vancouver (and fifth in the super-G as well), plus placed fourth in the super-G in Turin. He's shone in downhill on the world stage before, too, winning at the 2011 world championships and notching two of his four World Cup race wins and 15 of his Canadian-record 21 podiums in the discipline. He's also currently fourth in the World Cup downhill standings and posted two podium finishes this season heading into Sochi, including a gold at Val Gardena, Italy in December. Thus, while Guay wasn't an odds-on favourite, he certainly had a chance to come through here and finally win one of the Olympic medals he's been so close to before.

The other Canadian skiers here likely also won't be thrilled with their performances. Thomsen's the youngest at 26, and he only qualified for the Games late in the process (the other three all made the cut early on), so it's pretty decent to see him wind up in 19th, but he's wound up on a World Cup downhill podium before (on the same course in 2012). so it's not like he was just there to participate. Hudec has two career downhill wins on the World Cup circuit (in 2007 and 2012), as does Osborne-Paradis (both in 2009), so both of them are very capable of pulling out a win on any given day too. It's not like the Canadians choked here, but higher finishes definitely weren't out of the question in this event, so the end result isn't a great one for the red and white.

However, there is an interesting connection to Canada from Matthias Mayer of Austria, who claimed the gold Sunday with a time of 2:06:23. Mayer is a second-generation Olympian and a second-generation medalist; his father, Helmut, won silver in the super-G in 1988 in Calgary. Mayer had never finished above fifth in a World Cup downhill, so his victory was a bit surprising, but it's a big one for Austria, which came close to Alpine medals in 2010 with four fourth-place finishes, but hadn't won a downhill since 2002. Christof Innerhoffer of Italy and Kjetil Jansrud of Norway rounded out the podium, finishing with times of 2:06:29 and 2:06:33 to claim silver and bronze respectively.

While Guay and the other Canadians in the downhill may be less than thrilled with their results, they're nowhere near the most-disappointed athlete in the event. That would be American star Bode Miller, who won three medals in Vancouver (including a bronze in the downhill), has 33 all-time World Cup victories (eight in downhill) and was dominating the challenging, icy and dangerous downhill course in Sochi during the practice runs this week. Miller was heavily favoured, but things didn't work out for him Sunday: he beat Mayer's splits near the top of the course, but lost speed during the fourth interval and kept falling from there, eventually finishing in eighth with a time of 2:06:75. At 36, Miller's trying to become the oldest man to win an Olympic medal in Alpine skiing, and Sunday looked like a great chance for him. Like the Canadians, though, he'll have to hope to shine on another day in another discipline.