AFTER YEARS OF INJURIES AND FRUSTRATION,
JAN HUDEC IS BACK AT THE TOP BY PATRICK LANG
CHAMONIX — When Canadian Jan Hudec won the downhill here on Feb. 4, four years after his
only previous victory at Lake Louise, he avenged years of injuries and frustration.
The Czech-born Hudec eclipsed the rest of the field in 2 minutes and 3. 25 seconds to become the
first Canadian to win on the legendary Verte des Houches piste since Ken Read in 1978. Austrian
all-rounder Romed Baumann was second, fifty-three-hundredths of a second behind while reigning
World Champion Erik Guay joined compatriot Hudec on the podium in third place, a further tenth
adrift. Guay came in fourth on Friday while Hudec was sixth.
Taking place a day after another downhill on the same course, the race was completely different even
though the three men on the podium on Friday — Klaus Kroell, Didier
Cuche and Bode Miller —kept close together, fin-
ishing sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
Hudec, 30, was not around in 1978 at the time of
the legendary Crazy Canucks‚ but he had already
made Canadian alpine skiing history in Novem-
ber 2007 by becoming the first home skier to
win the Lake Louise downhill. The result was a
relief for the Canadian team, which has been
depleted by injuries to John Kucera, Michael
Osborne-Paradis and Robbie Dixon.
“It’s a sweet revenge
for me,” said Jan
Hudec of his win.