Jenny Owens also skied really well in the last event of her long and distinguished career to place 12th.
Sami Kennedy-Sim on Olympic debut showed glimpses of brilliance but ran out of luck in her 1/8 final to finished the day ranked 28th.
It was a day of high drama with delays due to crashes and fog, plus tough snow conditions from heavy rain.
Owens and Kennedy-Sim had some trouble on the seeding run but Crema showed good speed and stayed out of trouble to be ranked 11th.
After a strong qualifying run she was thrilled to ski so well in the head-to-head racing at the Olympic Games.
"My goal here was top 8 so I’m absolutely rapped," Crema beamed.
"That second heat I was so happy with that pass on the last turn. It was my last chance to get into the top two and I just went for it and it paid off."
In her semi-final she was back at the start and when gaining on the leaders she had to avoid the falling Swedish competitor. From there she could not improve on third behind eventual gold medallist Marielle Thompson (CAN).
In the small final she again was pushing the leaders on her fifth race down the course for the day but couldn’t quite get there to end with a final ranking of seventh.
"I guess it is whose performing on the day and I think I laid one down so I’m pretty happy."
The result improved on her 15th from Vancouver 2010 and equals Scott Kneller’s best Australian Ski Cross results at the Olympics from 2010.
Three-time Olympian Jenny Owens competing in the last event of her career was sporting a facial injury from a fall in training days ago and she had another small fall in the seeding run.
Yet she showed all her experience and determination to bounce back and ski so well.
She was second in her 1/8 final and just missed progressing from her quarter-final in third after making a mistake on the course.
"I just overshot that triple up the top and you can’t make mistakes like that. So unfortunately that was it," Owens said.
"I had trouble getting forward and I think I was a bit nervous in my last event – sort of just lost myself in it all."
Kennedy-Sim’s skiing career looked in doubt last April when she suffered at mild stroke yet she built herself back up and had a career best fourth place in a recent World Cup in France.
She was in a qualifying position from her 1/8 final before coming unstuck and falling.
"Unfortunately that’s the sport. It’s rough and tumble and that’s why we love it," Kennedy-Sim, who is married to Cross Country Skiing Olympian, Ben Sim, said.
"It just goes to show, it’s anybody’s race.
"I think I’m still developing as an athlete, so I’m looking forward to continuing and hopefully in Korea (PyeongChang 2018) I’ll be 29 and that’s not too old in our sport."
It was a great day for the Canadians. As well as gold to 21-year-old Thompson her teammate Kelsey Serwa won the silver and Sweden’s Anna Holmlund was ecstatic with bronze. 37-year-old Frenchwoman Ophelie David, who first won a medal at the 2005 World Championships, fell when pushing for the lead and finished her Games fourth.
Serwa, David and Thompson were the three fastest skiers in qualifying hours earlier.
Andrew Reid | sochi2014.olympics.com.au