February 17, 2006
Slidin' away
Wrong skis, wax leave Scott trailing
TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

PRAGELATO PLAN, Italy -- Too bad there wasn't a Norwegian coach to hand Beckie Scott a new set of skis with the right wax in the wet weather yesterday.

Bjornar Haakensmoen handed Canadian Sara Renner a new pole when she broke hers two days earlier in the relay. That turned out to be worth a silver medal for the two.

But this day Scott was on the wrong skis, with the wrong wax in the wrong weather and there was no Bjornar anywhere around to save the day.

"It was ski selection," Scott said. "It was partly wax. We made some last-minute adjustments to the skis. I know that happened partly in panic."

Her dream went bust yesterday because of a choice of skis and wax.

She didn't tell anybody about the dream until it popped, but Scott thought it was possible she could win a gold, a silver and a bronze at these Games. "Absolutely," she said. "I had myself set up for big things."

Nobody in Olympic history had ever won a bronze, a silver and gold in the same race before Scott did that at the past Olympics. Scott is already an Olympic trivia question for the ages with that one.

The 31-year-old from Vermilion won bronze in the pursuit at Salt Lake 2002, had it upgraded to silver a year later at a special ceremony at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary and upgraded to gold at another special ceremony at the home of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver when the courts of sport finally finished ruling on positive drug tests against the other two people on the podium.

Scott thought her best shot for gold was in the pursuit where she ended up finishing sixth. But then she combined with Renner to win silver in the sprint relay. Yesterday she figured she was in the mix in the 10-km.

She finished 30th. Then was disqualified.

And there went the chance for her hat trick.

"I still think I have a chance for one more medal here," Scott said, referring to the sprints, which are on the program next Wednesday.

While placing sixth in the pursuit was devastating because she believed herself to be the best in the world, this one came close because she didn't have a hope.

The problem with waiting four years to go for medals in any form of skiing at the Olympics is that you are at the mercy of skis, weather, wax and the like. And at this venue, about 80 km outside of Turin, they all seemed to come together to bite her yesterday.

"I hate to blame them," she said of the Canadian technical team which makes the calls on waxing. "It's just tricky. We haven't had these ski conditions yet this year."

Scott, who started 69th in a field of 72, was 14th to teammate Renner's first-place position after 2.6 kilometres. Normally a tiger on the hills, Scott found herself constantly sliding. There was no way.

"Obviously I'm unhappy," she said. "Those guys (the support team) take it harder than we do.

"They could see right away they hadn't done an adequate job on the skis. They'll be having some frank and honest discussions."

After blue-sky days throughout the Olympics to this point, the day dawned in the mountains with snow followed by rain.

Coach Dave Wood said "I suspect a mistake was made with the ski selection." He said Scott has "50 or 60 to choose from - a lot."

He said he wasn't going to knock the support team for making a mistake.

"They did a good job two days ago," he said of Scott and Renner having everything right to win a silver in the relay.

Renner ended up eighth. Her ski supplier is a different company from Scott's. Scott was disqualified when she made an illegal lane change just prior to the finish - hardly a major mistake when you are finishing 30th.







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