Big day for Britt

SUN NEWS SERVICES

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

ASPEN, Colo. -- Britt Janyk of Whistler, B.C., skied into an exclusive group of Canadian women yesterday when she captured gold in a World Cup downhill.

Janyk raced down the Ruthie's Run course in one minute 14.17 seconds for her first World Cup victory, becoming the first Canadian woman to capture a World Cup downhill title since Kate Pace-Lindsay won in 1993.

The only other Canadian women to have won World Cup downhills are Laurie Graham, Gerry Sorensen and Nancy Greene.

"It feels absolutely amazing and I'm so proud to be a part of that group," Janyk said in a conference call.

Marlies Schild, the overall World Cup points leader, took silver in 1:14.59 with Renate Goetschl won the bronze in 1:14.63.

"I walked the course to inspect it and started smiling," Janyk said. "It was just like I was used to -- West Coast snow, wet with powder mixed in. I knew I would have a good time and looked forward to pushing out of the start gate."

Janyk's victory comes on the heels of the bronze medal she won a week earlier in the downhill at Lake Louise, her first podium performance in the discipline.

"That was a huge step for me especially in downhill, to step onto that podium," Janyk said. "I was actually quite nervous coming into this weekend because I really raised the bar for myself and so any day I'm not on the podium I'm going to think about what I did or where I could have done better."

Janyk's gold puts the Canadian ski team's total at three medals on the season -- two of them from the 27-year-old skier. The team's goal for the season is 14.

Kelly VanderBeek of Kitchener, Ont., was sixth Saturday.

Heinzpeter Platter, the speed coach for the Canadian women's team, said the rough conditions helped his skiers.

"We had great training in the spring in Whistler, and we prepared when weather conditions were bad, we were still training, and today it helped us," said Platter. "We pushed the girls to the limits and today, the conditions were not so perfect ... that's why our girls are on the top now."

Janyk was presented with the red leader's bib yesterday after the victory vaulted her atop the downhill standings.

Her brother Michael was presented with the leader's bib in slalom last season in Beaver Creek, Colo., when he won a silver medal.

"He watched my race and he was just ecstatic," said Janyk, whose brother is competing in Europe.

"Maybe Colorado is lucky for us."

More than half the field was unable to complete the race run in a light snow. Only 30 of the 56 skiers finished. Race officials called off the race before 19 skiers were able to ski the course because of fog and poor visibility. Four other skiers chose not to start.

"It snowed quite a bit (Friday), and so conditions were soft and we didn't have that in the training runs," said Janyk. "It's quite a technical course, they had to lower the start because the top flats, they were just too soft and we had two jumps up there and the landing wouldn't have been good."


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