Canadians littered the ski cross World Cup podium on Wednesday in Innichen, Italy.
Reece Howden and Brady Leman scored silver and bronze, respectively, while Marielle Thompson took bronze on the women’s side.
Canadian men composed three of the four competitors in the big final, with Kris Mahler of Canmore, Alta., placing fourth. The only non-Canadian in the medal run, Austria’s Mathias Graf, won gold.
“I’ve never raced with three Canadians in the big final before. It’s pretty unique and special for the team to pull that off,” stated Howden.
The silver marks Howden’s second consecutive after another second-place finish in Switzerland earlier in December. The Cultus Lake, B.C., native, who was eliminated in the quarter-finals at the Beijing Olympics, now owns 11 career World Cup podium appearances in 34 starts.
For Leman, the 2018 Olympic champion from Calgary, Alta., the bronze is his first hardware of the young World Cup season, in which there’s only been four events to date.
The 36-year-old also placed fourth at the 2014 Olympics and sixth at the 2022 Olympics. He had not concluded better than 10th thus far in the 2022-23 campaign.
“I’m stoked to be back on the podium,” said Leman. “It fired me up to race the final with Reece and Kris. It’s too bad that we didn’t get the sweep, but we’ve got another chance at it tomorrow.”
Both the men’s and women’s skiers return to the mountain in Innichen on Thursday at 6 a.m. ET for another World Cup competition. Meanwhile, Thompson’s bronze medal was the continuation of a strong season in which she’s now landed on the podium in three of four World Cups. She previously earned a pair of silver medals.
Thompson, the Whistler, B.C., native who won Olympic gold in 2014 and silver in 2022, has now climbed 55 career World Cup podiums.
“I’m very happy to be on the podium again,” said Thompson. “All the heats were super tight with some great racing. I had a bit of a battle out there today and made lots of passes so that’s a positive. I think it’ll be even more exciting tomorrow with all the things people learned today.”
Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund, the reigning Olympic champion, continued her unparalleled run of ski-cross dominance with another gold medal, her 12th consecutive at World Cups.