By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) – Canadian skier Manny Osborne-Paradis says the quick snow and medium terrain of the course in Pyeongchang will play to his strengths when the gliding specialist goes for his first Winter Olympics medal in South Korea next month.
The 33-year-old will be competing in his fourth Olympics and is Canada’s best hope to reach the podium in men’s downhill and super-G. Fellow “Canadian Cowboy” Erik Guay is also expected to compete in Pyeonchang but has missed the World Cup season due to a back injury.
Osborne-Paradis said the course would suit his style, which relies more on finesse than brute strength.
“It doesn’t have a gliding section but it’s not very steep so I think it suits me better than guys who are really good at charging down steep hills,” he told reporters this week.
“There is nothing too worrisome about the race course. It is a very intermediate course where we still have to race against the best guys in the world.”
He said the fast, aggressive snow in South Korea, which he likened to the snow usually found in Colorado’s speedy Beaver Creek, will require skiers to gain speed at the outset and maintain it.
“Early pressure is key because any late pressure will take you out of the race,” he said.
The North Vancouver, B.C. native said experiences off the slopes since the last Games in Sochi, including becoming a father, had given him fresh perspective on life.
“I’m very confident with how I’m doing as a person,” he said.
“I’m a dad, I’ve got a house and life just keeps rolling through. It’s not as complicated as when you’re in Europe and you might not fly home because there’s nothing to go home to.”
Osborne-Paradis has struggled so far this season and currently sits 53rd overall in World Cup standings and 16th in downhill.
But he did win bronze in the World Championships in St. Moriz last year, a career highlight he hopes to build off.
He said he is steadily improving and expects solid results during World Cup races in Kitzbuehel, Austria this weekend and in Garmsch, Germany on Jan. 27-28.