Eric Guay of the Canadian team, whom I predicted for Olympic greatness but who came up just short (two 5th places), won a very unlikely SG crystal globe yesterday at the World Cup finals in Garmisch. An almost impossible sequence of events needed to occur in order for Guay to win the globe, which included Guay winning the race, Michael Walchhofer either crashing or finishing way out, and Svindal not winning either. All of the above occurred, and Guay has a nice new shiny crystal globe for the airlines to smash on the way back to Montreal.
The Canadian team is extraordinarily stocked with talent and extraordinarily well-managed. It is, unfortunately, a testament to the flukey nature of Olympic skiing that they got skunked in Pissler. It’s nice to see a Canadian take home a globe. The team deserves that, and more, after a very difficult and disappointing year in which several of their best medal hopes sustained season-ending injuries before the season really got started.
I think this may be Walchhofer’s last season. He hasn’t had a very good year, and he’s got the look of a guy who has lost his jazz for speed. He’s got two young kids, and I can see him calling it a career, going back to sleepy little Altenmarkt-Zauchansee to work in the family business. He’s a great skier and has enjoyed almost every success possible to a ski racer, so I’m sure quitting looks pretty good to him right now.
Marco Buechel of Lichtenstein, for whom the SG WC Final was his last race before retirement, did something typically wacky for a downhiller to celebrate his retirement. He didn’t quite do a “Full Rainer Schoenfelder” (ski buck naked), but fairly close. He ran the SG in a coat and tie, in bermuda shorts, and stopped midway down the run to chat with some fans. If my group had been doing the timing, Buechel’s run would have been “LIMITS OFF!“. Those of you who have been in the timing tower for World Cup know what I’m talking about.