Canadian ski racer Michael Janyk stood at the top of an icy pitch where so many hopes had been shattered yesterday with one thought: Podium or bust.
In a scenario that could be similar to one he’ll face in next year’s Olympics in his hometown of Whistler, Janyk knew he had to risk it all in his second run of the men’s slalom, the curtain closer at the world alpine championships in Val d’Isere, France.
“I was in the start and I said to myself ‘We have nothing to lose. I’m in ninth place. I want to move up as much as possible and I need to attack.’”
The 26-year-old did just that and was rewarded with Canada’s first medal ever in a men’s technical event at the world championships, winning a bronze medal in the men’s slalom.
“It gives me a lot of confidence, knowing that I can perform on a big day,” Janyk said.
“With this result today, for sure it will bring more pressure to next year and the Olympics, but as I see it not too many athletes get the chance to race in their hometown, especially their home country for the Olympics. No matter what the pressure and no matter what the outcome, I’m ready for it and glad that it’s happening.”
Janyk wasn’t sure his time was going to stand up for a medal, but as he stood at the bottom of the course watching the favourites go down he began to realize he might just pull it off.
“When I saw the guys who were ahead of me in the first run making those mistakes, I started to get a bigger smile and a bigger smile.”
Manfred Pranger of Austria won the gold in a combined time of one minute, 44.17 seconds, ahead of Frenchman Julien Lizeroux (1:44.48) and Janyk (1:45.70).
Christine Nesbitt and Kristina Groves earned Canada two more medals at a World Cup long-track speedskating competition yesterday. Nesbitt, of London, Ont., placed second in the women’s 1,500-metre competition, while Groves, of Ottawa, was third.