Australia’s two best Ski Cross athletes, Sami Kennedy-Sim and Anton Grimus are buckling down for the remaining World Cups in Sweden and Canada before PyeongChang with coach Shawn Fleming saying that Idre provides ‘a good replica’ of the end section for the upcoming Games.
“The PyeongChang start will be slightly different from what we were on before (at a previous event), but the rest is the same. There are good opportunities for passing in the second half,” Fleming said.
“For us coming into Idre – it’s good practise because there’s a lot of passing at the end. The last half in PyeongChang is dead straight and you could be at the back and pass all the way to the front. It’s not done until you at the finish.”
Sixteen women will qualify to the final rounds in Idre and Fleming says Kennedy-Sim has pace.
“Sami is skiing up there for pace with the best of them. Really, for her, it’s just buckling down and staying composed.,” he said.
“She is definitely someone who builds on her confidence and that’s the key.”
“December was the first European winter in a long time that was start stop. The programs were continually altered and that was tough for everyone. In Montafon, there was only one training run and then step in perform right away on a one and half minute course.”
“Sami definitely recognises that the lack of continuity has made it hard and owns some of the silly mistakes. The results were 11th, 11th,11th. Just give us something other than 11th,” he said. “The small final is just as attainable as the big final when there is only four.”
“We get the 11th and can see the trend. It’s not that we’re not as good or as fast. The trend gives us a really clear position to know where to go. We need to do a better job putting it together in that one run and then it’s fair game.”
“There’s an element of luck in a sport like Ski Cross. It requires mental toughness and can switch day to day.”
“Ninety percent of what Sami does ninety percent of the time is right. Now it’s finding another five per cent.”
The Idre track suits Kennedy-Sim and is the location that delivered a World Cup podium and bronze medal last year.
“She likes the track at Idre. We’re hoping the weather looks good for the double then we are off to Nakiska (in Canada), a quick break and a final training camp before PyeongChang.”
“I’m fairly confident he’s going to make it and be going in to the Games. Of course, you’d want to see results,” Fleming said.
Grimus had knee surgery in June to ‘clean up’ a previous surgery in January and is all good to go.
“It’s (the knee) not 100 percent but not a limiting factor in his skiing. He’s a competitor and wants to do well.”
Currently Grimus sits outside the top 32 for Olympic qualification but Fleming says that, “with adjustments to entry allocations he should be OK for PyeongChang.”
The Idre World Cup qualifications begin with the men at 9pm, Friday evening (AEDT). The first World Cup finals on Saturday start at 9pm (AEDT). The second World Cup kicks off at 10pm on Sunday, 14 January.
Follow OWIA on Twitter for all the action. Check out the www.owia.org for a full report and watch the finals LIVE on Eurosport Australia
By Belinda Noonan