By Steve Hubrecht
Windermere’s Courtney Hoffos finished sixth in the women’s ski cross at the Beijing Olympics last week.
Hoffos has been near the top of women’s ski cross for two seasons now, earning a bronze in a World Cup race last year, and finishing last year ranked sixth in the world. After coming back from an injury earlier this year, Hoffos went into the Games as the Columbia Valley Olympian with the best shot at a medal.
The Pioneer was unable to reach Hoffos in China for comment.
Ski cross is run in heats, with each heat featuring four skiers heading down the course at the same time. The first two skiers across the finish line in a given heat move on the next round, while the bottom two are eliminated. The heats continue, in progressive stages, until the semifinals. There are two semifinals, and eight skiers in total: four in each semifinal heat. The top two skiers from each semifinal go to the ‘big final’ (which is for places first through fourth), while the bottom two skiers from each semifinal go to the ‘small final’ (which is for places fifth through eighth).
The heats were held successively across a single day on Thursday Feb. 17 at the Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, a few hours drive outside Beijing, in Hebei province.
Hoffos did well in the early heats, coming first in her eighth final heat, then coming in second in her quarter final heat. But in her semifinal heat, Hoffos came fourth, which meant that she was headed to the ‘small final’ instead of the ‘big final’.
In the ‘small final’ Hoffos came second, which equates to sixth place overall.
The sixth place for Hoffos was part of a very strong showing for Canadian women in the ski cross event: Canadian Marielle Thompson earned the silver medal, Canadian Brittany Phelan came in fifth overall, and Canadian Hannah Schmidt was seventh overall.
It was Thompson’s second Olympic medal, and she had won gold in women’s ski cross in 2014.