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Sport Shorts: Sara Renner Wins Fifth Career World Cup Medal

Canmore, Alberta: Sara Renner provided a jolt of confidence to the Olympic cross-country team by winning a bronze medal here in her hometown on Saturday. It came in the 1.4 km sprint, and came in front of her husband (alpine skier Thomas Grandi) and daughter, Aria. It is the fifth World Cup medal of Renner’s career, which go along with a World Championship bronze medal in 2005 (Canada’s only such medal in cross-country skiing) and an Olympic silver medal in 2006.

Some of her 2010 Olympic teammates posted excellent results as well, with Dasha Gaiazova (Banff, Alta.) finishing 12th, Chandra Crawford (Canmore) 23rd and Perianne Jones (Almonte, Ont.) 25th. On the men’s side of things, Brent McMurtry (Calgary was top Canadian in 19th spot, Stefan Kuhn (Canmore, Alta.) was 22nd, Phil Widmer (Banff) was 23rd, Devon Kershaw (Sudbury, Ont.) was 24th and Sean Crooks (Thunder Bay, Ont.) was 26th.

On Friday in Canmore, hometown boy Ivan Babikov powered his way to 10th spot in the 15 km race. He is known as a “bulldog” for his high pain tolerance. His teammate George Grey (Rossland, B.C.) was the other Canadian to crack the top-20, finishing 17th. In the 10 km ladies race, Renner was 25th.

Whistler, B.C.: What a show here on Friday night when the Olympic Flame reached Whistler for the first time. A crowd of 3,000 cheering spectators gathered in Whistler Village to watch 2010 ski cross racer Julia Murray carry the Torch via snowmobile up Whistler Mountain – and then see Assistant Chef de Mission Steve Podborski carry the torch while skiing down with it.

Mt. Bachelor, Oregon: Canadian snowboarders absolutely dominated a Nor-Am Cup event here late last week. Over two days, three ladies snowboarders swept the giant slalom podium… twice. On Thursday, Alexa Loo (Richmond, B.C.) won gold, Caroline Calvé (Aylmer, Que.) won silver, and Kimiko Zakreski (Calgary) won bronze. The very next day, Calvé took gold, Zakreski silver and Loo bronze. On the men’s side, Toronto’s Michael Lambert stole the show with two straight gold medals. On Friday, Matthew Morison (Burketon, Ont.) won silver while Jasey-Jay Anderson (Val-Morin, Que.) took bronze on Thursday.

Mont Gabriel, Quebec: Genevieve Tougas (Saint-Hubert, Que.) presumed she wouldn’t make the podium in freestyle aerials Nor-Am Cup here on Sunday, hence her surprise when she learned she won the bronze medal. , was a surprised third-place finisher in Sunday’s eight-nation Nor Am freestyle ski competition. 2010 Olympian Sabrina Guerin (Laval, Q ue.) couldn’t quite land her second jump and finished fourth.

Killington, Vermont: Another skilled Dufour-Lapointe sibling – this time, Justine – nailed another great result, bronze in freestyle moguls at a Nor-Am Cup on Saturday. The Montreal native is the younger sister of World Cup freestyle skiers Maxime and Chloe (the latter of whom is a 2010 Olympian). Also here, Mikael Kingsbury (Deux Montagnes, Que.) nabbed a bronze medal as well.

Wellington, Florida: Three-time Olympic equestrian athlete Ashley Holzer rode Olympic partner Pop Art to a fourth-place finish at a Grand Prix Freestyle test event Saturday.