B.C. ski cross racers Thompson, Howden pick up world silver in mixed team event
A motivated group of Canadian freestyle skiers overcame challenging conditions and "small mistakes" in individual races to capture a silver medal Sunday in the debut of mixed team ski cross at the world championships in Bakuriani, Georgia.
Marielle Thompson earned her third medal in seven world championship appearances while Reece Howden reached the podium for the first time at the event.
They took to the course under sunny and windy conditions a couple of hours after the individual event was delayed due to poor weather.
Canada held a slight advantage over Sweden entering the final following a dominant semifinal performance, but its opponent overcame the time deficit to prevail.
WATCH | Canadians earn mixed team ski cross silver in Bakuriani, Georgia:
"It was a big day with the singles and the team [competitions] in the same day," Thompson of Whistler, B.C., told Alpine Canada. "Reece was skiing so well today; he gave the team a great opportunity and I'm really happy with the result.
She's done so much in this sport and it's a big deal to have this piece of history with her. — Reece Howden on earning a ski cross silver medal with Canadian teammate Marielle Thompson
"Our team here was so supportive, they were cheering the whole day and thank you to everyone watching back in Canada. It was a long race day, the longest one ever."
A smiling Howden, who raced first in the final, noted it was special to share the medal podium with Thompson.
4th in individual races
"She's done so much in this sport and it's a big deal to have this piece of history with her," said the native of Cultus Lake, B.C. "We're usually an individual sport so it's cool to be racing on behalf of someone, with a teammate like Marielle. It was a lot of fun."
Earlier Sunday, Howden and Thompson advanced to individual finals and placed fourth.
Toronto's Kevin Drury, coming off a bronze medal in his previous world championships, battled his way to the men's small final and won, placing fifth overall.
Teammate Brady Leman of Calgary also advanced to the small final at his seventh worlds and finished seventh, while Ottawa's Jared Schmidt was 17th at his debut worlds.
"The team performed really well today," said Canada ski cross head coach Stanley Hayer. "There were some small mistakes in the individual races that kept us off the podium, but the team came back really motivated for the team event and delivered a silver medal.
"Marielle and Reece are always near the top in World Cup races and they were solid today. The athletes really focused and stepped up today."