Canada wins bronze medal in new mixed team aerials event at Olympics

By Sportsnet Staff

Canada won a bronze medal in the mixed team aerials freestyle ski event at the Beijing Olympics on Thursday.

Marion Thenault of Sherbrooke, Que., Miha Fontaine of Lac-Beauport, Que., and Lewis Irving of Quebec City lifted Canada to its 11th medal of the Games (one gold, three silver, seven bronze) in the new event.

The United States captured gold, while China won silver. Canada beat out Switzerland for bronze.

Canada finished third in the six-team first round to earn a berth in the four-team finals. Reigning world champion Russia was eliminated in the first round.

Thenault fell on Canada’s first jump of the final round, dropping the country into fourth.

But the 18-year-old Fontaine delivered a strong back-lay-double-full-full to pull Canada ahead of Switzerland.

On the final jump, Irving stayed upright while Switzerland’s Noe Roth had his hand touch the snow.

Thenault, the rookie of the year last season, started in the sport only five years ago when she was recruited via the RBC Training Ground program from gymnastics.

Fontaine’s dad, Nicolas, won a silver in aerials when freestyle skiing was a demonstration sport in the 1992 Albertville Olympics. Nicolas then competed in three Olympics when the sport was added to the official program.

Irving’s father, Bobby, is a former member of Canada’s Paralympic ski team.

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