Guay's achievement celebrated

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:21 PM ET

Skiing sensation Erik Guay specializes in daring descents.

Maybe that’s why it’s easy to overlook his slow, steady climb in the history books.

With his second-place showing during Friday’s downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, the Calgary resident is now Canada’s second most-decorated men’s alpine skier with 15 World Cup medals, sandwiched between legendary Crazy Canucks Ken Read (14) and Steve Podborski (20).

“Passing Ken Read is quite a big moment for me,” Guay said. “Obviously, I grew up watching the Crazy Canucks and he’s obviously part of Canadian history and Canadian heritage. So for me to pass him, that is quite special ...

“Watching a guy like that growing up, he definitely influenced me quite a bit. So now, to be able to pass him, is absolutely special.”

Just four weeks after a historic win at the downhill world championship, Guay cashed in on a low bib number for Friday’s race, clocking a time of one minute, 47.44 seconds on a familiar course where he’d already claimed two World Cup medals.

The 29-year-old from Mont-Tremblant, Que., finished only five-hundredths of a second behind gold medallist Beat Feuz of Switzerland. Austria’s Michael Walchhofer was third in 1:47.50.

Calgary’s Jan Hudec had a 10th-place performance, his best result of the season, while Ben Thomsen, of Invermere, B.C., continued his breakout campaign with an 18th-place finish, capping a stellar day for the Canadian Cowboys.

“One thing you should really understand is that what all of us — all the old guys and all the young guys — want is for Canada to be shown as what it can be, which is the best in the world,” Podborski said. “So we always celebrate any time one of us gets on the podium, and it’s certainly a great pleasure whenever Erik does.

“Erik is just one of those guys that has that deep talent within him ... He’s a very, very elegant skier. He really has a clear connection to the snow.”

As an aspiring star, Podborski and Read both looked up to Nancy Greene. He might be too humble to admit it, but Guay is undoubtedly the current Canadian Idol for the next generation of slope stars.

“I haven’t given it too much thought, but obviously I hope that I’m influencing young skiers across Canada to pick up the sport and stick with it also — to have that drive and determination to get to the national team and beyond,” Guay said. “I’m second right now all-time, but I don’t think I’ll stay there. I hope that there are young Canadians out there that are going to — you know? — come and get me.”

Podborski and Read also figure Guay’s stay in second spot could be a temporary one.

They’re not forecasting a fall to third, though. They’re thinking the other direction.

A contender in two disciplines, Guay is training for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and mentioned on Friday’s conference call that he’ll compete until “my body tells me to stop.” That should give him plenty of time — as even he admitted — to surpass Podborski as Canada’s most-accomplished men’s skier.

That’ll also give the youngsters an even higher peak to set their sights on.

“The most inspiring example that you can provide to young people is our success stories,” Read said. “You have that next generation coming close behind that think ‘If he can do it, I can to.’ ”

That’s how Guay got his start.

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/WesGilbertson


Videos

Photos