Osborne-Paradis celebrates birthday

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency


Skier Manuel Osborne-Paradis is ready to celebrate his birthday by participating in the Olympic Games. (FILE PHOTO)

Manuel Osborne-Paradis must’ve been watching Sunday’s Super Bowl when MVP Drew Brees uttered the traditional post-Game phrase that pays, “I’m going to Disneyworld.”

Monday was Osborne-Paradis’s 26th birthday and he didn’t pause to think when asked how he planned to celebrate the special day.

“I’m going to the Olympics!” said the Invermere, B.C.-based North Vancouver native.

Qualifying for the home-slope Winter Games, which open Friday, is no small feat for a member of the injury riddled Canadian alpine ski team. Osborne-Paradis earned his spot on the Olympic team by winning the super giant slalom at Lake Louise, Alta. in November and the Val Gardena, Italy downhill almost a month later. He was runner-up in Wengen, Switzerland in mid-January.

The laid-back west coaster, who surfs in his spare time, was 13th at the 2006 Games in Turin. He is Canada’s best-bet to climb the podium when Saturday’s men’s downhill is scheduled to be the first medal event of the Games.

“You have to be confident to do well in your sport. I feel like I can win a gold medal, it’s just we got to have to have all the ducks in order,” he said. “You need good weather, you need the right start number and then you need to have the best run. If everything goes well obviously there’s going to be one of us standing on the podium and hopefully it’s me.”

Osborne-Paradis said the mid-mountain fog, between offbeat-named course features Toilet Bowl and Sewer, could be a challenge on the day. Otherwise the quality of daylight is the biggest consideration.

“Light is huge in racing, a guy can go two minutes before and the cloud will come over and the next guy will be two seconds back and probably he had the same run as the guy in front of him,” he said.

Should he win the race, the glow will be historic. Canada is searching for its first home-won gold medal after failing to win a championship in any Olympic sport at the Montreal 1976 Summer Games and Calgary 1988 Winter Games.

POLL