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Friday, March 27, 2009

3 gold medals for Leblanc at Tignes

One month after John Kucera's victory in Downhill at the World Championships at Val d'Isère, another Canadian, Charles-Olivier Leblanc, distinguished himself on Espace Killy by winning three out of the four events in the last round of the Deaf Skiing Europa Cup.

In fact, Charles-Olivier Leblanc of Repentigny (Val St-Côme Skiing Club) came in first place for the Super G, the Super Combined and the Slalom races that took place at Tignes, the sister slope of Val d'Isère. "We were thrilled with Charles-Olivier's Super G victory" commented Marco Spain, the Head Coach. Canada's last medal in a speed event was at the 1991 Banff Deaflympics. Leblanc, already a regular on the podium for technical events, has now proven that he can also succeed in racing events. Serge Lambert, assistant-coach and technical expert, was quite proud of Leblanc's shining results, "and to think that he came so close to bringing home the Giant Slalom as well." Leblanc admitted : "I made one big error in the 2nd round of the race", although he certainly made a comebacl for the remaining races. "His manoeuvering noticeably improved, which worked to his advantage" added Spain. According to Lambert, Charles-Olivier is regarded by the Europeans as the best Deaf Skier in the world.

Another Canadian athlete from Quebec, Danielle Rousseau (Le Relais Skiing Club), also did very well with a 10th place finish in the Super G, 8th in Giant Slalom and 9th in Super Combined. These are excellent results and Rousseau showed great determination in her ability to recover from a knee injury suffered this past January. Despite her inability to do any intensive training prior to the Cup, she held her own on the slopes, managing to complete all four ski events within the top 8 to 10 for best in the world. Rousseau was put even further at a disavantage after an error in points calculated from last season resulted in her being placed in the wrong starting order. She was incorrectly placed in the second group when she had earned the right to start with the first fifteen skiers. Although the committee admitted they were at fault in the ordering, they neglected to modify the predetermined starting order upon the Canadian team's arrival. As the snow melts in the spring, conditions can change in a blink of an eye.

If Leblanc were able to compete in every event, he would be a serious candidate to bring home the Europa Cup. In only four races, he collected 300 points while the winner, France's David Pelletier, accumulated 750 points over 12 events in the circuit this season.


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