“Amazing, absolutely amazing,” is how Canmore’s Rori Wulff describes getting a bronze medal for women’s snowboardcross.
Like other 2019 Canada Winter Games snowboarders, Wulff had to race through the “crazy cold” on Monday at the Canyon Ski Resort, where temperatures plunged to below -20 C in the early afternoon.
Wulff was thrilled — and a little surprised — to be the only Alberta competitor to make the podium.
By comparison, Quebec posted two big wins with gold-medal performances by Anne Gagne for the women’s event and Anthony Gervais-Marcoux for the men’s.
Silver medalists were Colby Graham, of B.C., for men’s snowboardcross and Kerry Lynch, of Ontario, for women’s.
Ontarian Riley Howell took the bronze medal for the men’s event.
The snowboarders agreed the extreme cold undoubtedly played a factor in their runs.
Wulff said she felt fortunate to have practised when the “polar vortex” hit Canmore. “I feel I was in the right head space” to complete the course and finish on the podium, she added.
Gagne said her team’s snowboard waxers were working hard on Wednesday morning, treating the boards to try to ensure they wouldn’t be slowed by the cold conditions.
The snowboarder from Lac-Etchemin, Que. was “very happy” to have won the gold medal, saying it’s been her goal for some time.
“I would have been sad if I wouldn’t have won. It was my big objective.” said Gagne. Despite the extreme temperature, she felt she achieved “one of my best results” at the Canada Winter Games.
Gervais-Marcoux, of Saint Apollinaire, Que. felt the cold might have slowed him a bit — “but not too much,” as he was very pleased with his gold-medal run. “I live in Quebec and (sometimes) we have the same temperature,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Nova Scotia athlete who didn’t place on the podium showed his determination to compete in the Games by driving 4,818 km to Red Deer.
Liam Gamble of Dartmouth, N.S. had sustained a collapsed lung during the last NorAM snowboarding competition. When told by his doctor that he could not fly to Alberta, Gamble packed up his car and drove across the country to compete.
It’s too bad they don’t give out medals for sheer mettle.