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No Snow? "Come Hell or Rainwater Only Contigency is Cypress," Freestyle Ski Team Director Says at Olympic Athlete Press Conference

Canadian Games Freestyle skier Kristi Richards's sponsorship poster

Answering a question about how the Olympic committee will deal with snow shortages at the Cypress ski resort at a press conference today, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association Peter Judge was unequivocal. "There is no threat that it (the competition) will be anywhere else. The only threat is that if we run into fog or heavy rain, we run into postponements. It just means that things are reschedulled and you work around it."


Judge was Head Coach of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team for 12-years from 1985 until 1997. A five-time winner of the Longines-Wittnauer Coaching Excellence Award (1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1997) and twice a finalist for the Canadian Coach of The Year, his enthusiasm and dedication has guided the Canadian Freestyle team for some time.


Judge described the construction of the Cypress ski course and said, "We worked with VANOC and they were able to extend the course and make it steeper. It cost more to do that but we knew it would make for a better venue and much stronger technical courses. From that stand point it's one of the top three technical courses in the world," Judge said.


The contingency plan is that we're at Cypress and the next one is that we're at Cypress. Come hell or rainwater," Judge said.



Members of the Canadian Olympic Games Freestyle team cited the Own the Podium program for preparing them to have a shot at taking Gold medals at the Olympic Games. The federal and provincially-funded program was created after Canada failed to win a single gold medal in the Montreal and Calgary Olympic Games. The money was invested in training Olympic level athletes and a large amount of the funds went to hockey and skiing.


"It's inevitable. It's going to happen," Jenn Heil, of Spruce Grove said. "We're very confident coming into these Games."



The athletes expressed a good-natured acceptance of the pressure they face to win gold Citing the Own the Podium program, Jenn ( ) said: "We have the strongest Olympic teams ever thanks to Own the Podium. We're better trained. We've had access to all the resources we need."



Kristi Richards, of Pemberton, is competing for the second time in the Olympics. She said she felt energized by skiing on Canadian soil.


"For me to imagine standing in the gate at Cypress and seeing not only my family and friends and sponsors, I gain a lot of energy and confidence from that," she said. "The expectation of us winning medals on the first day, it's kind of the lottery as far as we start first, but as Jenn said every single medal is special. We all put our heart and soul and everything into this goal."


Jenn Heil upside down

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