No more close calls

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:05 AM ET

LAKE LOUISE -- Kelly VanderBeek knew she would one day step on a World Cup podium.

She just didn't know when.

That time finally arrived yesterday when the 23-year-old Chilliwack resident won bronze in the super-G, becoming the first Canadian female ski racer to win a World Cup medal at Lake Louise.

"This is my first podium in Canada, I think I am going to cry," said VanderBeek.

"I knew it was coming. I have learned the value of a 100th of a second. I needed to put it down today in front of a home crowd. I'm just at a loss for words right now. This is so awesome."

VanderBeek's teammates also put up many low numbers yesterday, with four Canadians finishing in the top-15.

Genevieve Simard of Val-Morin, Que., finished fifth, while Emily Brydon of Fernie, B.C. was eighth, starting from the No. 46 spot. Britt Janyk of Whistler was 11th.

But the day belonged to VanderBeek. Her time of one minute 21.77 seconds was just a few ticks shy of first-place finisher Renate Goetschl of Austria, who posted a time of 1:20.86, and American Lindsey Kildow (1:21.73), Saturday's silver medallist in the downhill.

VanderBeek's bronze medal comes as a bit of relief because she's been so close so many times before.

VanderBeek, who cultivated her craft on the tiny hills of Chicopee, Ont., narrowly missed winning a bronze medal at the Turin Games and also came close to hitting the podium at the season-ending World Cup race in Norway.

"It's nice to finally be here after a few fourth-place finishes," she said.

"I have good consistent skiing. I hope this is just the beginning."

The bronze medal was a personal conquest for VanderBeek but with solid performances all around, the whole team was celebrating.

"This is great for us as a nation," said Simard.

"Kelly really deserves this because she's finished fourth many times. This team performance means we can compete against the best and put everything on the line on race day."

Alpine Canada CEO Ken Read, who was on hand yesterday, said the results are encouraging for the future.

"I am very happy for Kelly, this is a fantastic team result," said Read. "We are still aiming to be a world leader in 2010. We want to be using this home advantage and we are looking to keep this momentum."

Kildow will definitely head into the rest of season with momentum.

With her second-place finish yesterday, the young American leaves Lake Louise with two silvers and a gold.

"I am very excited to go home with such strong results," said Kildow. "It is my boyfriend's birthday today, so this is great."


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