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Canada's Crawford wins downhill silver at World Cup stop in Aspen

James Crawford James Crawford - The Canadian Press

ASPEN, Colo. — Toronto skier James Crawford won a silver medal in men's downhill at the World Cup stop in Aspen on Saturday.

Crawford, who won the super-G at the world championships last month in Courchevel, France, finished in a time of one minute 32.21 seconds and carved himself a spot between superstars Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Marco Odermatt of Switzerland.

“I had a few mistakes which kept me off the pace of Kilde. All in all, after how the training runs were going, I am really happy with the race,” said Crawford.

The Canadian says he's been relaxed on the slopes since winning the super-G championship on Feb. 9

“My big goal was to win a race, so I settled down after and had less pressure which makes it easier to go out and do what I know how to do," he said.

It was Crawford's third downhill podium finish this season, adding to the silver he won in Bormio, Italy and the bronze he claimed at Beaver Creek, Col., in December.

“It felt pretty sweet to stand on the podium again,” said Crawford. “Coming into today I didn’t feel like I was skiing my best after the world championships. Think I was a little drained after the big event. I managed to get up to race pace today and this result shows me that I’m back to my 100 per cent.

"It was important for me to win on the world stage this season and so accomplishing that has helped me feel confident and to enjoy the process coming into races.”

Kilde, who finished more than a half second ahead of Crawford, clinched his second consecutive World Cup downhill title with the win.

The Norwegian collected his sixth victory in nine downhills this season, allowing him to join Stephan Eberharter as the only male ski racers in the past 45 years with that many. Eberharter did it in 2001-02 and 2002-03; before that, the last man with at least a half-dozen downhill triumphs in one season was Franz Klammer in 1977.

“It’s been a fantastic season. … I would never expect anything like that,” said Kilde, who was supported by a group of relatives, including his parents, and friends in the crowd.

“Just got to keep on pushing,” he said with a smile, “and try to do it next year again.”

His triumph came hours after his girlfriend, Mikaela Shiffrin, wrapped up her fifth career World Cup overall title by tying for fifth place in a downhill at Kvitfjell, Norway.

“It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly we do, but I think just the support we give each other every day is what brings us to the results we have and to the moments like this,” Kilde said, calling himself “proud” of Shiffrin, who is one victory shy of Ingemar Stenmark's career record of 86 World Cup wins.

“We do a lot of things together and we support each other, no matter what,” he said.

Kilde and Odermatt are tied for the overall World Cup season lead with a total of eight race wins apiece.

The circuit's stop in Aspen concludes with a super-G on Sunday.

A downhill scheduled for Friday was scrapped after just 24 racers because of snow and fog; 30 are required to make an event official.

Canada’s women speed racers were in Kvitfjell, Norway, for Saturday’s FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup downhill.

Stefanie Fleckenstein of Whistler, B.C., was the lone Canadian racing and delivered a career best with a 19th-place finish.

In her 27th World Cup start, Fleckenstein started 46th and had the biggest jump of any racer today moving up 27 spots to finish in the top 20.

With files from The Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2023.