A Red Deer cross-country skier is on track to become one of Alberta’s best.
Simon Marchinko, 13, won the aggregate Alberta Cup midget division gold medal Sunday after finishing first in a race in Canmore – the fourth of five cup races this winter.
“It feels really good to win the award,” Marchinko said. “I’m really proud of myself … and it was so nice to experience that.”
Marchinko has accumulated 360 points in four races and with just one race to go, the nearest skier has 230 points.
Marchinko, a Grade 8 student at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School and a Red Deer Nordic Ski Community member, has skied since he was seven.
“I love the sport … and the people on my team have become such great friends,” he said.
Before this winter Marchinko had not won a provincial gold medal. But he’s finished first in three of four Alberta Cup races this year.
“I’ve done lots of running and training over the summer and I really kept up my endurance,” said Marchinko.
Marchinko said his goal is to be the best cross-country skier in Canada.
Jonas Marchinko, Simon’s father and a coach with the ski club, said he’s very proud of his son.
“It’s amazing seeing him called up to the podium to get the gold medal. I don’t mean to brag, but we’re almost getting used to it,” Jonas Marchinko said.
If the father and son were to race today, the younger Marchinko would win, said Jonas Marchinko.
“It’s funny how the tables have turned,” he said. “Two years ago, he would have to work hard to keep up with me. Last year I could barely keep up with him and this year, forget it. He’d beat me in a race hands down.”
Seeing his son grow as an athlete has been awe inspiring, Jonas Marchinko added.
“Everything I’ve tried to teach him, he does it and even goes above and beyond. During the Olympics he was watching the skiers and studying their technique. He really takes it seriously,” said Jonas Marchinko.
Alanna Butler, Red Deer Nordic Ski Community head coach, said Simon Marchinko has a special drive in him.
“He will always do his best and lay it all on the line when he’s racing,” said Butler. “Not everyone has the same push when they’re racing and not everyone loves to race, but he truly does.”
Simon Marchinko has raced with a couple older skiers in the club which has been beneficial to him, Butler added.
Event though Simon Marchinko has already won aggregate gold, he will compete in the final Alberta Cup race this weekend at Bragg Creek, west of Calgary.