Manny Osborne-ParadisPhoto: GEPA pictures/ Matic Klansek

Amelia SmartPhoto by Derek Sautter –

Benjamin Thomsen.Photo: GEPA pictures/ Daniel Goetzhaber

With the Winter Olympics coming up this February three local skiers Amelia Smart, Manny Osborne-Paradis, and Benjamin Thomsen are one step closer to the Games. The trio of skiers have been nominated to the 2017-2018 Alpine Canada team after meeting criteria this past season.

For Ms. Smart, the nomination takes her from the development team and skiing on the North American Circuit (NorAm) to the World Cup level.

Training wise it will definitely stay the same, but it might be a bit different during the season because I’ll be racing some World Cup races which I didn’t race at all last year, so I guess the race schedule will be a bit different. But I’d say training will kind of be the same program, said Ms. Smart.

She said the nomination is a step in the right direction for her but did not come as a surprise, as she knew she made the criteria at the end of this past season.

Ms. Smart is hoping to make the Olympics but said there are certain criteria and qualifications that I have to make at the start of the next season to be able to qualify for the Canadian Olympic Team, which is pretty tough criteria. I’m hoping but we will see what happens.

Heading into the start of the upcoming season Mr. Osborne-Paradis is already in position to be a contender for the Olympic team, as he is currently ranked second in Canada after his performance during the 2016-2017 season. It is highly likely he will be competing at the Games in February as he needs to place top four in Canada to make the team.

Mr. Osborne-Paradis said the Olympics is two weeks of a long season, and being mindful of that he’s working to be at his peak performances level during the two weeks of the Games.

You’re always constantly working on when you can peak in the season. It’s a long season and it’s hard to stay at your number one competitive state or your best competitive state during the whole season. So you’re trying to peak around the second and third week of February where the Olympics take place and we did fairly well with that last year, with getting medals at world champs at that time, said Mr. Osborne-Paradis.

When asked if this will be his last Olympics, Mr. Osborn-Paradis told the Pioneer he’s trying to never say never.

When I started on the World Cup 13 years ago nobody was older than 30 years racing and here I am 33 and now it doesnt really seem like until you’re in your low to mid-thirties you can even win the overall title in downhill. There are guys that I’m skiing against that are 37 turning 38 this year which would give me another five years, which would give me another Olympics, just with how people are skiing right now, said Mr. Osborne-Paradis.

Benjamin Thomsen may be in the most unique situation out of the three skiers, as he is currently on injury status coming back from knee surgery in March of 2016. Mr. Thomsen said, I’m on a little bit of a chopping block right now, where I need to perform right away.

It is tough in that I’ve never been injured before. I’ve never come back from injuries, so this is a little bit unknown territory for me and that’s a little nerve wrecking. But at the end of the day I know what I’m capable of, said Mr. Thomsen.

His goals for the upcoming year include placing in the top 15 which will be a challenge as he’s lost status due to his injury, and qualifying for the Olympics.

I still need to qualify for the Games which means I need two top 12 results on World Cup prior to the Games. That’s probably my biggest goal just to qualify for the Olympics, after that would be to get another (World Cup) podium, said Mr. Thomsen.

All three athletes are already preparing for the upcoming season and will spend the summer in various countries training for the Olympic year.