The query appears to catch Jack Crawford off guard for a split-second.
“The medal?” he asks, referring to the Olympic bronze the Canadian collected in alpine mixed in February in Beijing.
Indeed, the query was about “the medal.” Where does Crawford preserve it?
“I do not know. It’s with my mother and father. I do not know. I would not say the medal actually — it is tremendous cool. It means rather a lot to me. But the expertise I feel is more my velocity,” he solutions.
As it seems, velocity itself can be Crawford’s velocity. The 25-year-old from Toronto excels in alpine snowboarding’s two quickest occasions, the super-G and downhill, ending fifth within the former and sixteenth within the latter in final season’s total World Cup standings.
Both disciplines will likely be examined on the 2022-23 season opening World Cup in Lake Louise, Alta., which begins Friday and runs via Sunday. Live streaming of the whole occasion will likely be obtainable on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.
Crawford enters the marketing campaign with a brand new set of challenges, together with a begin quantity towards the entrance of the pack. It additionally means a goal on his again after he completed fourth within the downhill and sixth in super-G on the Olympics, as well as to the bronze in alpine mixed (which provides collectively one downhill run and one slalom run).
Ever the competitor, Crawford stated it is the downhill that sticks with him a lot of the three Olympic races.
“I put down a run that would have received the race and sadly, time wasn’t on my aspect that day. So that one positively, positively stings a bit as a result of if I take into consideration, like, begin quantity, or I do one flip in another way, impulsively it is a utterly totally different day,” he stated.
Still, Crawford stated in the end his aim in each race is to put up a time able to successful — even when the end result would not comply with. In a solitary sport like alpine snowboarding, the opponent tends to be the clock more than different racers. Meanwhile, his eyes are set on the world championships in February and incomes medals at vaunted hills like Kitzbuhel.
WATCH | Crawford snags silver at World Cup in March:
Alpine Canada velocity coach John Kucera, whose first World Cup victory as an athlete got here within the 2006 Lake Louise super-G, stated the following step for Crawford is consistency.
“Showing these type of high-level performances he was in a position to do via the Olympics and the tip of the 12 months on a more constant foundation proper from the start,” Kucera stated. “And if he does that? Everything else will type of care for itself.”
Crawford will likely be helped by his early begin quantity, a results of his sturdy finish to final 12 months, granting him more energizing snow and more predictable climate alongside different podium contenders. He posted the quickest time in downhill coaching on Tuesday.
“When we’re coping with a sport that has as many variables as ours and races are being determined by tons of of a second, like all these issues matter,” Kucera stated.
“It’s a totally totally different set of nerves,” Crawford defined. “When you are beginning on the again, it nonetheless is type of such as you’re attempting to get in. People aren’t considering like, ‘Oh, this man deserves it.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, he might be good.’ Now it is, ‘He ought to be.'”
Between the bronze medal and the upgraded begin quantity, Crawford will definitely now be considered in another way by opponents. But he stated that actuality nonetheless hasn’t fairly sunk in.
“I feel it is insane. It’s one thing that I’ve at all times dreamed of. But I suppose I’ve rather a lot more that I feel I’m able to, and I’m hoping that I get a pair more Olympics to add to that [bronze medal],” he stated.
“It’s simply in our sport, there’s so many issues you’ll be able to win and that is only one little tick, but till there is a gold one, I feel it will simply stare me within the face a bit of bit.”
End of the road?
While the Lake Louise World Cup marks the beginning of the alpine ski season for some, it additionally might have the sensation of an ending.
That’s as a result of the way forward for the occasion itself is doubtful. The ladies, whose Lake Louise journey is every week after the boys, haven’t got a World Cup in Canada on the docket for the 2023-24 season. The males do, but the precise location remains to be ominously unknown.
“Hopefully this 12 months it means a bit of more simply because there’s going to be more individuals, more mates. And it simply could be the final one. So take benefit,” Crawford stated.
Kucera stated that past his private triumph at Lake Louise, the venue is essential as a result of so many Canadian skiers minimize their enamel there, from coaching to the lower-level NorAm circuit.
“[Lake Louise is] very picturesque and everyone at all times likes coming there.
“I do not know the place this stuff [stand for] subsequent 12 months, but if that is the final one, it is bittersweet for certain. And, hopefully, we are able to present up because the Canadian group and carry out effectively,” Kucera stated.
Other Canadian contenders
Many bear in mind Crawford’s bronze, but two different Canadians — Broderick Thompson and Brodie Seger — positioned eighth and ninth, respectively, in alpine mixed, too.
Kucera stated Thompson, now 4 years faraway from a critical knee damage, might be poised for a breakout. The 28-year-old from Whistler, B.C., earned his first World Cup podium final season with super-G bronze in Beaver Creek, Colo.
“I do not suppose he’s fairly discovered the consistency in what he’s really in a position to produce and he hasn’t essentially introduced his greatest sport but to the World Cup,” Kucera stated. “So I feel he’s one which, in case you begin placing collectively what we have been seeing in coaching, could be fairly attention-grabbing.”
Seger, the 26-year-old North Vancouver, B.C., native who positioned fourth within the super-G at 2021 worlds, is wanting to be a part of Crawford within the entrance of the pack additionally.
“I feel for me, little bit of an off 12 months final 12 months but [Seger] can actually be harmful,” Kucera stated.
Jeffrey Read, Kyle Alexander, Trevor Philp and Sam Mulligan spherical out the Canadian contingent.
Live protection of the downhill begins on Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET, adopted by super-G races on each Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET.