Pressure is on for racers
By STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency
TOWN OF THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, Ont. -- The one member of the Canadian ski cross team that has already qualified for the Vancouver Olympics keeps raising the bar.
But Ashleigh McIvor of Whistler, B.C., isn't about to float to the Olympics.
Though she pre-qualified for the Vancouver Games, based largely on her win at last year's world championships in Inawashiro, Japan, McIvor continues to lead the Canadian team on the World Cup circuit, including the qualification round on Tuesday at the World Cup in Blue Mountain.
McIvor qualified first for Wednesday's final, with a time of 57.34 seconds. She was followed by Kelsey Serwa of Kelowna, B.C. (57.53). The other top Canadian women were Julia Murray of Whistler, who was fifth (58.15) and Danielle Poleschuk of Winnipeg, who was eighth (58.61). Aleisha Cline of Squamish, B.C., a winner last year on the World Cup circuit, was 14th (59.15).
On the men's side, Dave Duncan of London, Ont., qualified first in 53.90, followed by Michael Schmid of Switzerland (53.91). Stanley Hayer of Calgary was fourth (54.66).
Wednesday's World Cup race and the World Cup event this weekend in Lake Placid, N.Y., are extremely important for all the Canadian freestyle teams -- ski cross, moguls and aerials, as the Olympic team will be named after that. Unfortunately, the Canadian freestyle team can only name 18 athletes in total for the Games and Dave Ellis, ski cross high performance director, said there likely will be athletes left of the team that could realistically win a medal in Vancouver. Only McIvor, 2006 Olympic moguls gold medallist Jenn Heil of Montreal and four-time World Cup aerials champion Steve Omischl of North Bay have already qualified.