By Steve Hubrecht
Invermeres Manny Osborne-Paradis is the newest ambassador for international charity Right To Play, and capped his new status by narrowly missing the podium at last weekends World Cup race.
Mr. Osborne-Paradis finished fourth, narrowly missing third place by a mere four-hundredths of a second, at the mens Word Cup downhill in Beaver Creek, Colorado on Friday, December 6th.
Another fourth. Its just a matter of time before I get a podium, said Mr. Osborne-Paradis, a three-time World Cup winner who was also fourth in the downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, at the end of last season.
Im skiing better and Im skiing faster and more confidently, he said. Its really just about putting it all together. My run was pretty clean. I made a mistake on the pitch and came out a little low and that probably cost me the race, but thats racing.
Mr. Osborne-Paradis produced a superb run on a ski hill that hasnt been kind to him (his previous best result at Beaver Creek was a 23rd-place finish in 2008). He was sitting in first place at the end of his run, but skiers racing behind him eventually pushed him back off the podium.
I finished off last year with a fourth and today I got a fourth on a course I normally dont do well on, he said. I kind of knew I was getting the wooden spoon but (fellow Canadian skiers) Jan (Hudec) and I and Erik (Guay) are all skiing well we are all there. Its just putting it together at the right time.
As well as becoming an athlete ambassador for Right To Play, Mr. Osborne-Paradis is sponsoring the charity which is driven to use sport and play to educate and empower youth to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease around the world by wearing its logo on his helmet.
I was having a hard time finding a corporate sponsor for my helmet, then I was talking with a board member for Right To Play and I realized it would be a great fit, Mr. Osborne-Paradis told The Pioneer. This seemed like another direction and a charity that had a more worldly impact than what I was already doing.
Manny also made an initial donation of $25,000 to Right to Play, and is giving bonuses based on his race results (the better he does, the more he donates).
Mr. Osborne-Paradis and fellow Canadian skier Mike Janyk already run an annual Mike and Manny ski camp in Whistler, B.C. for up-and-coming racers who might not otherwise be able to afford such training, and Mr. Osborne-Paradis will soon appear for Right To Play at an event in Collingwood, Ontario.
He said that although hed really like to do a bigger trip to see some of Right To Plays programs in action, that will have to wait for a while as the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are firmly in his sights.