Heil canít wait to see light again

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:14 PM ET

Jenn Heil had revealed two days earlier how she'd seen the light to go forward with new motivation in her magnificent moguls freestyle ski career.

But after finishing second in the first event of the season in Ruka, Finland, just 30 kilometres from the Arctic Circle Saturday, the pride of Spruce Grove can't wait to just see light again. Daylight.

"For 16 days I have not felt the warmth of the sun," she said of heading to the next two events of the season in France and China before returning home for Christmas.

The 2006 Olympic gold medalist -- in search of a record breaking sixth Crystal Globe as World Cup points champion -- finished second to American Hannah Kearney on a day which saw Canadian Kristi Richards take the bronze and Mikael Kingsbury of Deux-Montagnes, Que., win silver in the men's event.

Kearney, who won gold to Heil's silver in Vancouver 2010, finished with 24.09 points to Heil's 24.02. Richards was third with 23.52.

"It's always nice to have the first one under the belt, especially after eight months off," said the revitalized and rejuvenated Heil in a telephone interview from Finland.

It was the 51st podium performance of her World Cup career which includes 25 wins.

"The main objective was to have the joy back and that was definitely there (Saturday). It wasn't perfect. I still have work to do. But I'm happy to get the machine rolling," said Heil.

Heil said the next event in Mirabel, France, will be followed by the first-ever competition in China.

"I'm really excited to go there. It's in the Northeastern part of China on the 21st. I don't remember having three events before Christmas before. It's generally one or two."

But other than not seeing the sun in Ruka for all that time, she said the opener was a spectacular success.

"It was an amazing World Cup. They had a great organizing committee here and it was a wonderful event and party in the pitch dark. There was live TV all over Europe and it really was a great way to open our season."

Not so great for Canada's Olympic gold medal winner Alexandre Bilodeau, though. He was seventh.

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terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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