Heil's on course for gold

By IAN BUSBY, QMI AGENCY

If all goes according to plan, Jennifer Heil should kick off next month’s Olympics with Canada’s first gold medal on home soil.

So winning Friday night’s World Cup moguls event at Canada Olympic Park is another bump on the way to Vancouver.

After going through a season of recovery on her ailing body, the comeback is on schedule.

“I want to build on this,” said the Spruce Grove product, who won the event four years ago at Turin, Italy.

“I know I can increase my speed on the course and the overall intensity. That’s what I’m looking to do.

“I would like to think with my reconstruction that I have a sixth gear. Like a luxury car. I’m not there yet. I’m probably more in fifth.”

Heil was one of two Canadians to stand on the podium Friday night at COP. Quebec City’s Vincent Marquis took the silver in the men’s moguls behind Australia’s Dale Begg-Smith, the reigning Olympic champion who is also returning from a knee injury.

The result helps Marquis’ chances of making the Canadian Olympic team, but he won’t know until all the World Cup events have finished.

“I was nervous like hell,” the 25-year-old said. “I don’t remember the last time I was this nervous with all the Olympics selections.

“I’m excited to have a good run... This has improved my chances a lot. There are still four more to do but this helped me a lot.”

The difficult course at COP claimed another Canadian medal hopeful. Alexandre Bilodeau from Montreal had a great deal of speed going following the first jump and skidded off course. He finished 16th but will get a another chance in tonight’s race.

In the women’s event, Nikola Sudova of the Czech Republic was second, while Austria’s Margarita Marbler took bronze.

Kristi Richards of Summerland, B.C., finished sixth but that was good enough to move her atop the World Cup standings.

POLL