No Read-ing between lines

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:06 AM ET

Ever since Ken Read took over the reins at Alpine Canada, the goal has been to keep moving forward.

So far, the former Crazy Canuck turned chief executive officer has succeeded in making the country's best ski racers competitive.

The national team is no longer spinning its spinning wheels but Read now wants his squad to go into overdrive.

"To say that we were going to come in here and only try to win seven podiums after 12 a season ago was really the wrong message to send," said Read, explaining why he altered his original, early-season prediction for his squad.

"This season, we want 12 podiums, which was equal to last year, but we want two medals at the world championships.

"We had to look at our season with our coaching staff and say: 'How do we adjust this and how do we stay honest with ourselves but also honest with the community at large?'

"We're trying to get everybody to think long-term but the athletes also know, more than anyone, you can't forget about the here and now."

Read's squad can start working towards its goal at the Winterstart World Cup, which begins this weekend at Lake Louise.

The Winterstart races have traditionally kicked off the speed season on the World Cup circuit.

The top male skiers will compete in the downhill and super-G Saturday and Sunday, and the women will run the encore Dec. 1-3.

With only one Canadian skier -- Erik Guay in 2003 -- to ever step on the podium at Lake Louise, a win or even some top-three finishes would certainly go a long way in convincing Canadians Read and his team really are moving forward.

Read agrees, however, whether the team gets the wins here or overseas is unimportant, providing the skiers continue to reach their goals.

"In our view this is a step forward and it's a clear message to our athletes," said Read about the aim to get more podiums this season.

"We've now got athletes who have been on the World Cup circuit for four or five years, who are now thinking about winning and winning consistently."


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