Biggs looking forward to his second chance

Skier hopes to put himself back in podium position

By TIM BAINES, QMI Agency

The last couple of months have been a “rollercoaster of emotions” for Gloucester’s Patrick Biggs.

First told he would not be on Canada’s alpine ski team competing at the Olympics, then later added to the team, Biggs is on Cloud 9.

“I went into a streak of Did Not Finishes and I could see it slipping away,” says Biggs, 27. “I really needed a Top 10 finish and when I went out, I knew I wouldn’t be selected.

“We had a team meeting and the coach said they were applying for more (positions on the team). It was quite a surprise when three spots (on the Canadian team) were added. I had accepted that I wasn’t going, but I knew I had a slim chance. I was the last name on the list.”

After the initial list was announced, Biggs had already e-mailed supporters telling them he was off the team.

Biggs would love to get himself into a situation similar to what he experienced four years ago in Sestriere, Italy, when he sat in 10th place after the first run of the Olympic slalom competition.

He was just 1.01 seconds behind the leader. Aggressively speeding down the hill, he straddled a gate on the second run, knocking him out of the race.

“In my head, I was thinking I had an outside chance of sneaking in for a medal,” says Biggs. “My mindframe was to take some risks and go for it. If it worked out, I was going to win a medal. If it didn’t I would be where I was, in the snow.

“People don’t really remember a 12th-place finish. If I had the same situation, I would do the same thing.”

Biggs, who went to Colonel By and was based out of Camp Fortune, still spends about four months a year in his hometown. Getting to this Olympics hasn’t been easy.

Since his Olympic runs, in 42 World Cup runs, Biggs has placed twice in the Top 20.

“It’s been an up and down last few years,” he says. “There have been injuries, changes in equipment ... but I’m still pretty confident in myself. This isn’t my strongest event, but it’s been something I’ve been really building on this year.”

He’s thrilled to be part of the Olympic experience again, especially competing on his own country’s hills.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” he says. “Our sport has been primarily European for the last three years. There have been no races in Canada or the U.S. So this is going to be incredible.”

His odyssey began at the age of two, with a loving nudge from his mom and dad, Nancy and David. He also played competitive soccer and high school volleyball, all the while developing his athletic skills.

He was also developing a sense of speed.

Comfortable with speed

“You have to be comfortable with speed,” he says. “If you put us in race cars, we’d generally be ahead of others. We have that sense of speed that it takes.”

It’s that sense of speed he hopes pushes his skiing legacy to another level later this month, with his mom and dad, along with his brother Andrew and wife Diane, watching and hoping. They did have to change their arrangements a bit. They had planned on being on hand for the slalom event.

It looks like Biggs’ best chance is in the giant slalom, where three skiers are battling for the two Canadian spots. He’s also an alternate for the slalom team.

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