TAIZICHENG, China — Canada's Brady Leman took the silver medal in men's competition Saturday at the season-opening World Cup skicross event at the Secret Garden ski resort.
Leman, the defending Olympic champion, finished second in a photo finish behind Russia's Sergey Ridzik. Bastien Midol of France took bronze.
Secret Garden will host freestyle ski and snowboard events at the Beijing Winter Games.
"Super stoked to put down a great race, especially on the Olympic test course," Leman said. "It’s been cool to see all the infrastructure going into the Games, and it got the vibes going early in what was a big event. I’m stoked that I could step up."
Leman is looking to stay healthy as he gears up for the 2022 Beijing Games. The Calgary native was involved in a nasty cycling accident in May 2020, and suffered a season-ending injury when he crashed out of a World Cup race in Bakurani, Georgia in February.
In women's competition, Brittany Phelan of Mont Tremblant, Que., won the small final to finish fifth.
Phelan made her first competitive appearance since February 2020, when she suffered a knee injury at an event in Megève, France.
“Fifth place really feels like a first place today," said Phelan . "It's been almost two years since I've been in a World Cup start gate, it’s been a long hard recovery, and so I couldn’t be happier about today."
Sweden's Sandra Naeslund won gold, followed by Switzerland's Fanny Smith and France's Marielle Berger Sabbatel.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2021.