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Page last updated at 22:48 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

McIvor eases to ski cross victory

Ashleigh McIvor

McIvor wins Olympic ski cross event

Canada's Ashleigh McIvor led from the front to claim the inaugural Olympic women's ski cross gold in front of a delighted crowd on Cypress Mountain.

The 26-year-old was well clear of Norway's Hedda Berntsen, who out-fought France's Marion Josserand for silver.

Austria's Karin Huttary had too much to do after a messy start, while event favourite Orphelie David crashed out spectacularly in the quarter-finals.

Canada's Kelsey Serwa proved the best of the rest by winning the small final.

Britain's Sarah Sauvey was two places away from qualifying for the medal round with the 34th-fastest time in the individual time trial.

McIvor, who grew up in nearby Whistler, said: "That's the beauty of ski cross. It's ski racing in it's most natural form. Who could go out and represent Canada better than a Whistler girl?"

I feel so stupid and sad. For myself, it's OK

Orphelie David

Sweden's Anna Holmund had posted the best time in that initial stage and looked strong as she advanced with Huttary from the first quarter-final.

The competition opened up in the next race as reigning X Games champion David failed to land an inadvertently huge jump after misjudging a kicker.

"I'm just so, so disappointed for the people who worked for me for a long time and who trusted me and support me," David said afterwards.

"I feel so stupid and sad. For myself, it's OK."

Josserand's daring overtaking manoeuvre in the first semi-final was rewarded as she edged out Serwa, before McIvor dipped for the line to take second place ahead of Swiss 17-year-old Fanny Smith in the second.

With falling snow slowing the front-runners the final was expected to be a tight contest, but McIvor rarely looked in danger after opening up an early lead.

Instead, Berntsen and Josserand, who lie 33rd and 23rd in the World Cup ski cross standings respectively, provided the entertainment with an absorbing battle.

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see also
Stunning Schmid wins ski cross gold
21 Feb 10 |  Freestyle skiing
GB ski-cross racer on the new Olympic sport
07 Dec 09 |  Freestyle skiing

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