Canada’s Jack Crawford captures Olympic bronze in alpine combined

By Sportsnet Staff

Canada’s Jack Crawford won a bronze medal in the alpine combined event on Thursday at the Beijing Olympics.

It marked Canada’s first Winter Games medal in alpine skiing since Jan Hudec took bronze in the Super-G in 2014 in Sochi.

Crawford becomes just the fourth Canadian male skier to win an alpine medal at the Olympics. He is the first to do so in the combined — an event no longer on the World Cup circuit.

“Honestly, I don’t think I did the best job,” Crawford told CBC. “Coming into the slalom, I hadn’t skied it in a really long time and I wasn’t 100 per cent sure how the slope was going to feel. I just trusted what I’ve been doing in downhill and Super-G and I tried to bring the same approach. Luckily, I was able to put together a run that kept me on the podium.”

It was Canada’s ninth medal of the Beijing Games.

The 24-year-old Crawford, from Toronto, was second and just two hundredths of a second back of leader Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway after the downhill.

Crawford, skiing immediately after Kilde in the slalom, was very close with the Norwegian before his combined time ended up nine hundredths back.

However, Austria’s Johannes Strolz, who was fourth in the downhill, was the only racer to go under 48 seconds in the slalom (47.56) to take gold. He finished .59 seconds ahead of the second-place Kilde.

Strolz’s father, Hubert, won gold in combined at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

Broderick Thompson of Whistler, B.C., who was third after the downhill, struggled in the slalom and ended up eighth. Brodie Seger of North Vancouver, B.C., was ninth and Trevor Philp of Calgary did not finish his slalom run.

It has been a strong Olympics for Crawford, who was fourth in the downhill and sixth in the Super-G.

Crawford finished fourth in the combined at last year’s World Championships.

The bronze came 50 years after Crawford’s aunt, Judy Crawford, became the first Ontario-trained athlete to represent Canada in alpine skiing at the Winter Games. Judy’s best finish was a fourth in the slalom in Sapporo, Japan.

Candace Crawford, Jack’s sister, was part of the alpine ski team for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics alongside her brother.

“It means a lot to me. I’m sure it means a lot to my family,” Crawford said of the medal. “After all this is over and everything’s calmed down, I’m going to call them right away. I’m excited to celebrate when I get back.”

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