On top of the world

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Nobody had ever done four before.

With a fourth consecutive World Cup title, Jenn Heil has accomplished what no freestyle moguls female skier has ever accomplished and no Canadian has ever achieved in any freestyle event.

To do it, Canada's golden girl from the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games did what she's never done before - win five World Cup races in a row.

"It just feels really awesome," said the pride of Spruce Grove in a telephone interview with the Sun from Voss, Norway, where she put the title away with another win yesterday.

"This is beyond my expectations," said Heil. "I never dreamed I'd win four straight World Cup titles.

"It's definitely just as special as the first one, probably even more special because it's never been done before.

"I never expected to be able to push the sport and now the record book like this."

Heil had either won three or four events in a row last year, depending on how you score it. She won a World Cup event, won the Olympics and then won two more World Cup events to end the season.

TWO RACES

Heil, who has now won 17 World Cup events including her first in Canada last week at Apex in B.C., would have clinched the title on a home hill if they hadn't made the final stop of the season a two-race event. They added a moguls competition today, to try to make up for the number of events lost due to a lack of snow in Europe this year.

"It had to come down to the next one," she said of the disappointment of not being crowned last weekend.

"I was told I had to finish in the top seven no matter what she did," Heil said of American Shannon 'Sparky' Bahrke, winner of the first two events of the season.

Finishing 11th in her first event of the season in Quebec after several races were cancelled in Europe, Heil obviously got it all together.

"Being a post-Olympic season, there were some challenges but I went back to the basics and made sure I had fun.

"I feel I've taken my skiing to the next level this year."

Heil placed first with 25.52 points in the race, ahead of Margarita Marbler of Austria who was second at 24.23.

Stephanie St-Pierre of Victoriaville, Que., took the bronze, her second medal in her last three World Cup competitions.

A side-by-side dual moguls event concludes the regular season of the sport today.

The world championships go next weekend in Italy.

Heil is the defending dual moguls world champion but has never won the world championships in the classic competition, which is the Olympic event.

"This has given me a lot of confidence going to Italy," she said.

"The world championships rank second only to the Olympics and are held only every second year. They represent something I have yet to accomplish."

BIG DECISION

When she comes home, Heil will have some thinking to do when it comes to next year.

She's going to consider taking the year off, as she did the year after the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics.

"I haven't made any decisions," she said.

"My knees have been a bit sore all season. I've been pushing myself harder than ever before. I'm going to assess where I'm at at the end of the year."

One thing. You can't make it five World Cup titles in a row if you don't compete.

"I definitely want to defend my title," she said. "But I have to do what's right for my body.

"If I'm going to take a year away, it will have to be next year."


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