Home and native track

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:30 AM ET

Now that Sara Renner's won a World Cup medal, she and skier husband Thomas Grandi can sit down one day and bask in the glory of achieving such a feat.

However, one experience Renner has over her four-time medal-winning spouse is knowing what it's like to earn that honour on Canadian soil.

Grandi, who became the first Canadian skier to win a gold medal in a technical discipline last year, has never competed in his home country on the World Cup circuit.

In contrast, Renner, a bronze medallist last weekend in Vernon, B.C., not only stepped on the podium in Canada's first World Cup event in 16 years but now has the chance to capture more hardware in her own backyard.

"I think it's almost more difficult to have a bronze medal in Canada because it has been 16 years since we had the World Cup," said Renner, who will strap on the skis for the second of two international events in Canmore this weekend.

"Just to have the opportunity to race at home and perform really well at home in our first time racing here, I think that made it even more special because we race all the time in Europe and compete against everyone but this was definitely a whole different ball game."

Renner, 29, grabbed her first World Cup podium in nine years on the national team Sunday at the inaugural Sovereign Lake event alongside teammate Beckie Scott, who won a gold and silver last weekend.

With the country behind them, the duo moved East to Canmore Monday and are hoping to recreate that atmosphere by posting similar results.

Although, as good as it is to sleep in her own bed, Renner said the pressure of skiing at home can also be a distraction. But only if you let it.

"For me, living in Canmore, it does pose some different distractions. Grocery shopping is a very long affair because everyone wants to wish you good luck," said Renner.

"The attention and support is really motivating but we have to guard our time so that we can have some good results."

Renner's bronze in the 1.1-km sprint Sunday is her best finish since climbing to a third-place earlier in the year at the world championship in Germany.

Scott, who captured the gold in the same sprint and silver in the 15-km pursuit, is extremely proud the team could provide Canadian cross-country fans with solid results.

"We had the opportunity with the Calgary Olympics in '88 to see our heroes up close and take that momentum and turn it into success ourselves," she said. "So, if we can turn it around and inspire some young people to do the same thing it's truly the way it should be."

The Canmore Nordic Centre, with events starting tomorrow, has undergone a $21-million renovation in order to bring the World Cup here.

"The Nordic Centre has undergone some serious renovations and construction and everyone I saw out there skiing they actually had a comment for me and that it was really hard," said Scott.

"I think these trails are extremely tough but not tougher than the one's in (Italy)."


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