Medal mania continues

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:17 PM ET

CANMORE -- Beckie Scott is parking herself on the podium and isn't leaving.

The cross-country skier from Vermilion won her third World Cup medal in six days, capturing a silver in the 10-km free yesterday at the re-vamped Canmore Nordic Centre, which hosted a World Cup for the first time since 1989.

A crowd of about 1,000 at the finish line went wild as Scott skied through the last 300 metres on the demanding course in a time of 25 minutes 53.1 seconds.

Scott finished behind Russia's Julija Tchepalova, who won in 25.39. Germany's Evi Sachenbacher-Stehele finished in 26.39.5 to claim the bronze.

For Scott, it was another stellar race on home snow after she won a gold and silver last weekend in Vernon.

And all along, she wasn't even considered a medal favourite, especially in the longer distances.

"I've been feeling great all week. Last season in the 10 km in Finland, I finished fifth, so I knew I could get better," said the 31-year-old, who won a gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics in the pursuit.

Scott, who pondered retirement after the 2003 season, noted the key has been months of solid training. She stayed home to train rather than cross the Atlantic for the first few World Cup events.

"The training's gone really well. Today I felt like I had more stamina and could keep going at the same speed for the full 10 km without getting tired," said Scott, who will compete in four events (10-km, sprint, team sprint and pursuit) at the Turin Olympics, which start Feb. 10.

Scott's teammate and good friend Sara Renner was 12th as she followed up her bronze medal last week in Vernon with a solid result.

Renner, who hails from Canmore, said everything's falling into place as she matures.

"Racing at home has made a difference but I also think it takes a long time for a Canadian cross-country skier to develop," said the 29-year-old, who is married to alpine skier Thomas Grandi.

"You have to be a good athlete but you also have to live out of a bag for five months a year and it was a big learning curve.

"I had to learn to be fast and patient on the road living that lifestyle. I'm also a more mature athlete, so I'm starting to figure it out."

Scott and Renner have known each other since they were 15 and Scott is thrilled with the way Renner's career has come along.

"I'm very happy for her," said Scott. "I love having her on the team because success breeds success and we're pretty lucky because we enjoy each other's company a lot.

"She's definitely the prankster on the team but I'm the willing campadre."

They'll be racing together Sunday in the team sprint, where they have a great shot reaching the podium.

Other Canadians results included: Daria Gaiazova (31st), Amanda Ammar (37th), Tara Whitten (38th), Madeleine Williams (39th),Chandra Crawford (45th), Tasha Betcherman (49th), Margret Scallion (50th), Shayla Swanson (51st) and Christine Bisson (52nd).

The World Cup continues tomorrow with the women's 15-km classic and the men's 30-km classic.


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