win silver and bronze in aerials
Medals end freestyle skiing 8-year
CBC SPORTS ONLINE - Canadians Veronica
Brenner and Deidra Dionne jumped to silver and bronze in
the women's aerials competition at Deer Valley on Monday
Australia's Alisa Camplin was queen of the
hill, though, posting a combined score of 193.47 -- just
3.45 points ahead of Brenner, while Dionne had a two-jump
total of 189.26.
Camplin's performance pulls Australia into
a tie with Canada in the gold-medal race. Earlier in the
week, Steven Bradbury won the Aussies' first-ever Winter
Olympic gold in short-track speed skating.
"That's awesome," Camplin said.
"We're a summer country, a sunny country. But this
is amazing. It will set a great standard for Australian
Camplin's victory also put a golden-lining
on the absence of her teammate, three-time World Cup champion
Jacqui Cooper, who blew her knee out while practicing last
Brenner and Dionne were actually in first
and second place, respectively, with only three competitors
to go when Camplin nailed the jump that gave her gold.
"It went so slowly. It was like time
had stopped, everything in slow motion, but it was definitely
worth the wait," explained a rather giddy Brenner,
when asked how she felt about having to wait while the three
remaining jumpers took their turns at trying to surpass
The door was opened for the two Canadians to land on podium
when Belarus' Alla Tsuper, the World Cup leader this season,
failed to stick her landing, which dropped her to ninth
Then Russian Olga Koroleva, who led the all
aerialists with her first jump, had a solid second jump,
but played it a little safe; once the modest degree of difficulty
for the jump was factored in, it was not enough to dislodge
Camplin and the Canadians from their medal positions.
After the Russian's score was posted, Brenner
and Dionne embraced, while Camplin shrieked in a mixture
of joy and disbelief.
Camplin was not regarded as a favourite in
Salt Lake. She was fifth in the World Cup standings last
season, but until Monday, she'd finished no higher than
seventh in a major competition.
"It's incredible to stand on the podium
with one of my teammates," said Brenner, who finished
ninth at the 1998 Nagano Games. "As well as Alisa,
who's a friend of mine."
The silver medal caps what is a remarkable
comeback for Brenner, who suffered a serious knee injury
in November 2000 -- an injury she followed up with a separated
shoulder suffered while getting back into training.
"This time last year, I was still learning
how to walk without a limp," she said.
"I was having such a hard time and I
was losing a lot of confidence. There's always a doubt that
you just don't have it."
Brenner felt her fortunes were turning, though,
when she had an excellent day in practice last week.
"I stuck every jump that I did and my
takeoff was just what I wanted."
"Today is the greatest day of my life,"
Brenner said. "Everything that I went through is so
Dionne also had some misfortune to bounce
back from, having had her skiing equipment stolen at Whistler,
B.C. two weeks ago, although she played down its impact
on her state of mind.
"I'm lucky enough that it happened a
week before the Games so I had enough time to get my focus
back," she said.
Brenner's and Dionne's performances gave Canada
its first two-medal result in an Olympic event since Jeremy
Wotherspoon won silver and Kevin Crockett won bronze in
the men's 500-metre speed skating event at Nagano.
It was also a remarkable performance for a
team that was completely shut out of the freestyle skiing
medals four years ago in Nagano. The medals were also the
first ever earned by Canadian women in Olympic freestyle
"It is amazing to our team," said
Dionne. "Our team is one of the dominant ones and Nagano
didn't go as planned. To come back here to pick up some
redemption, and to pick up some medals, shows that our program
is still strong."
Brenner and Dionne, from Red Deer Alberta,
were fourth and fifth heading their final jump. Dionne nailed
her full, double full jump for 100.28 points the highest
score in Deer Valley today.
"I knew I had it. I just told my coach
(Nick Bass) 'This is it. This is the one.' I just went for
it and I knew I could land it and do it well. I just needed
to put it to my two feet and I did that today," said
the overjoyed Dionne.
World champion Veronika Bauer of Toronto struggled
with the landing on her second jump and finished 10th overall.
Bauer caught an edge while coasting down the inrun and never
fully recovered her momentum.
But Bauer's disappointment could not have
been as great as Switzerland's Evelyne Leu, who stunned
her opponents with a world-record score in qualifying, but
finished well back in 11th in the final.
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