Canada's McIvor strikes gold in women's ski cross

CanWest News Service
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WINTER OLYMPICS

Call it performance on demand. Call it bragging with portfolio. Call it living up to the spirit of Canada's much-maligned goal of owning the podium.

If the Olympics come down to an athlete bringing it at the moment, Ashleigh McIvor delivered on demand Tuesday at Cypress Mountain.

McIvor's gold is the sixth for Canada at these Games. Photo by Canwest News Service

Vancouver -

Call it performance on demand. Call it bragging with portfolio. Call it living up to the spirit of Canada's much-maligned goal of owning the podium.

If the Olympics come down to an athlete bringing it at the moment, Ashleigh McIvor delivered on demand Tuesday at Cypress Mountain.

She's Canadian. She's the defending world champion. And she's the first Olympic gold medallist in the history of women's ski cross.

No apologies necessary from the host country.

Not this time.

"This is like the only race of my life where I just felt I was going to win," she said, her cheeks rosy from the cold and snow. "I used to think it was bad to think that way, that I was going to jinx it or I'd be so disappointed if I didn't win."

She felt disappointed - actually crushed is more like it - Sunday when her boyfriend and teammate Chris Del Bosco did a face plant and lost out on a chance for bronze in the men's ski cross final.

History did not repeat itself Tuesday with Cypress Mountain actually looking like a Winter Olympic venue for a change. Blinding snow gusted sideways across a course already considered difficult by any standards - especially at the start for the women.

Advantage: Canada. Advantage: McIvor.

"Growing up in Whistler, I was shredding powder, dropping cliffs chasing the boys my whole life," said McIvor, once described as "a little bit hippie, a little bit super model" by her coach, Eric Archer. "Skiing in the back country and racing your buddies from the top of the hill to the bottom - that's what ski cross is all about.

"Who could go out and represent Canada better than a Whistler girl?"

With the crowd roaring from the bottom of the course, McIvor took a deep breath from her perch at the top.

She felt peace.

"Standing in the start gate, I was thinking that everything that's happened in my life up to this point has been leading me to here," she said. "This is where I want to be right now. I felt like I was made for this event. It's in my hometown, pretty much.

"What more could I ask for?"

With blond hair poking out from her helmet, McIvor soared out of the gate, grabbed the coveted hole shot in the four-woman final and never looked back.

But she did think of her boyfriend as she rocketed toward the finish line.

"I always draw inspiration from him," she said. "I actually thought about it as I went through that corner in the final. 'Don't do what Chris did. Stay on your feet.' "

McIvor captured Canada's sixth gold medal at the 2010 Olympics. Hedda Berntsen of Norway grabbed the silver and Marion Josserand of France cashed in with bronze.


Geographic location: Canada, Cypress Mountain, Vancouver Whistler Norway France

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  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Well done. She's hot too!

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Well done. She's hot too!