PG's Gairns makes World Cup small final, Howden clinches Crystal Globe

It wasn’t Brady Leman’s day, but Jared Schmidt of Ottawa found a way to win his first World Cup ski cross medal Saturday in Bakuriani, Georgia.

Leman, the reigning Olympic champion from Calgary, was in medal position in the big final near the bottom of the course challenging for the lead when he fell, and Schmidt took advantage to finish in bronze-medal position.

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Florian Wilmsmann of German won the duel for gold over David Mobaerg of Sweden in the men’s race.

In the women’s big final, which featured a battle between two Marielles, Whistler’s Marielle Thompson came up short in her try for bronze, and Marielle Berger Sabbatal of France was able to hang to third place. Fanny Smith of Switzerland got to the finish ahead of second-place Sandra Naeslund of Sweden to clinch the Crystal Globe as World Cup points champion.

Tiana Gairns of Prince George, who was fifth in qualifying on Friday, advanced to the women’s small final and finished eighth overall. Courtney Hoffos of Windermere finished sixth overall.

Reece Howden of Chilliwack finished 19th in the men’s race and earned enough points to wrap up his first Crystal Globe title.

"I’m super happy," Howden said. "It’s weird having a not-great day but getting some great news."

In other Canadian results, in the women’s event, Zoe Chore of Cranbrook finished 11th and Hannah Schmidt of Ottawa was 13th, while in the men’s event, Chris Del Bosco of Montreal was 14th, Kristofor Mahler of  Canmore was 25th and Carson Cook of Edmonton was 33rd.

The first ever World Cup ski mixed cross team event is scheduled for Sunday. The men race their heat first and as soon as their male team partner crosses the finish line the female team member can start her race. The first woman to cross the line wins the race.

Gairns has a realistic shot at her first World Cup medal being paired with Howden, the points champion, who has three gold and two silver podium finishes in solo events this season. The competiton starts Saturday at 11:30 p.m. PT.

 

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