The 23-year-old Australian Institute of Sport / NSW Institute of Sport scholarship holder could not wipe the beaming smile from her face as she crossed the line in second place of the consolation final, giving her sixth overall in the third ski cross event of this season’s World Cup.
Her performance equaled the best result of any Australian ski cross athlete this season and saw Kennedy-Sim’s ranking jump from 23rd in the standings to 17th, joining team member Jenny Owens, currently ranked 14th, in the World’s top 20.
Today’s event was won by Switzerland’s Sanna Luedi, ahead of Canadian Marielle Thompson and Austrian Andrea Limbacher in third.
Kennedy-Sim’s elation of surpassing her previous best World Cup result, eighth at Canada’s Blue Mountain resort in February last year, overshadowed a race incident that put an immediate end to her hopes of winning the consolation final and finishing higher in the overall results.
After a solid start to the consolation final, Kennedy-Sim was tightly bunched with France’s Ophelie David and Norwegians Marte Hoeie Gjefsen and Julie Brendengen Jensen going into the first jump.
Jensen caught a ski edge on the rise of the jump, losing control and colliding mid-air with her compatriot and Kennedy-Sim, causing the three skiers to crash.
The Australian regained her composure quickly but had no chance of catching David who was the only athlete among the four unaffected by the incident, allowing the French woman to win the consolation final with ease.
However, Kennedy-Sim has already put the race mishap out her mind and has set her sights on another strong performance when the World Cup circuit moves to the French resort of Les Contamines on January 15.
AIS ski cross program head coach Matt Lyons was also thrilled by Kennedy-Sims success and believes the impressive result is due to the athlete’s hard work and attention to detail with basic technique.
“This is a huge improvement compared to the previous two events this year,” Lyons said.
“She has worked extremely hard to get today’s result, although this is what we expect of her.
“The team has had to deal with a less than ideal preparation to the season because snow conditions have meant that we have not been able to train for long on hard snow.”
Twenty-one-year-old Anton Grimus delivered a season-best performance when he qualified for the finals and finished 23rd.
The men’s final was won by Slovenian Filip Flisar, with Canada’s reigning World Champion Christopher Delbosco in second and Sweden’s Lars Lewen picking up the bronze medal.
In other results for Australian ski cross athletes, Owens, who captured sixth place in round two at St Johann in Austria on January 8, was unfortunately unable to qualify for the quarter finals finishing in 17th, missing the cut by just one place and 1/100th of a second.
Ski wax selection appeared to prevent Owens from continuing her good form from Austria.
Meanwhile, Katya Crema was on track to advance to the quarter finals at the half way stage of her qualifying run but an athlete skiing ahead of her crashed, which forced officials to close the course mid-way through the Australian’s run.
Crema was unable to achieve similar speed during her restarted qualifying run, finishing the day in 22nd place.