December 13, 2013, RUKA, Finland (ISN) – Alexandra Duckworth of Kingsburg, N.S., was the top Canadian Friday at the season opening World Cup halfpipe event with a career-best sixth in the finals.
Shuang Li of China won the gold medal with 85.75 points, Rebecca Sinclair of New Zealand was second at 83.75 and Clemence Grimal of France third at 67.70. Duckworth posted a 29.75 score in the six-woman finals after falling on both her runs.
”This was my first World Cup final and I’m really excited about my showing here,” said Duckworth. ”The highlights were my semifinal runs this morning which were two pretty clean runs. Unfortunately I think I felt some fatigue in the finals and fell both times on my biggest trick.”
Mercedes Nicoll of Whistler, B.C., just missed the cut for the finals placing seventh. Katie Tsuyuki of Toronto was 11th and Calynn Irwin of Toronto 12th.
In men’s halfpipe, Brad Martin of Ancaster, Ont., was eighth, Crispin Lipscomb of Edmonton 16th, Derek Livingston of Aurora, Ont., 17th, Trevor Niblett of Toronto 18th and Kyle Thomas of Whistler 22nd.
Janne Korpi of Finland won the gold medal.
”We’ve been training here in Finland for two weeks and the experience has been beyond our expectations,” said Canadian halfpipe coach Dan Raymond. ”And that definitely showed in our results today. We are quite pleased with our start to the European portion of the season.”
Calvé, Lavigne crack top-eight at snowboard World Cup
Meanwhile in Carezza, Italy. Olympian Caroline Calvé of Lachine, Que and Ariane Lavigne of Lac-Supérieur, Que., were both eliminated in the quarterfinals to end up ranked seventh and eighth respectively at the season opening World Cup race in parallel giant slalom.
Both Canadians cracked the top-16 in qualifying and won their opening playoff duals in the round of 16. In the quarterfinals, Calvé lost to Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland and Lavigne fell to Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan. In the gold medal final, Kummer defeated Takeuchi.
The competition was a single elimination format for the playoff duals rather than a double elimination which will be the case at the Olympics in Sochi. That made it frustrating for the lower seeded competitors because the highest ranked rider in qualifying had a much better course in the duals.
”Usually I wouldn’t be this disappointed with a seventh place,” said Calvé, a three-time World Cup medallist last season. ”But to lose the quarterfinal by .02 seconds is frustrating under this format. My side of the course was full of ruts.”
Lavigne agreed about the course situation but was still pleased to advance to the playoff round.
”I just tried to give it everything I had in the duals after being a bit defensive in qualifying,” said Lavigne, who lost to the Japanese rider by only 0.47 seconds. ”I knew I had nothing to lose with the course situation.”
Marianne Leeson of Burlington, Ont., was 32nd and Ekaterina Zavialova of Calgary 38th.
In the men’s parallel giant slalom, Matthew Morison of Blackstock, Ont., was the top Canadian in 11th spot. Morison ranked 10th in qualifying and lost his opening round of 16 match-up to Vic Wild of Russia.
The other Canadians didn’t get past the qualifying round. Michael Lambert of Toronto was 26th, Steve Barlow of Courtice, Ont., 27th, Darren Gardner of Burlington, Ont., 29th , Jasey-Jay Anderson of Lac-Supérieur, Que., 31st, Indrik Trahan of Trois-Rivières, Que. 45th and Matthew Carter of Maryhill, Ont., 49th.
Anton Unterkofler of Austria won the gold.
Competition ends Saturday with the parallel slalom.
For more information, or to schedule an interview with any members of the Canada Snowboard National Teams or coaches, contact Media relations Manager Nadia M’Seffar at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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