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CANADIANS IN THE HUNT AT WINTER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES

 INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA – Day 3 is in the books at the first Winter Youth Olympic Games, with Canadians coming close to the podium in Innsbruck.


“I am very proud to call this group of young athletes the Canadian Youth Olympic Team,” said Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut. “They have worked so hard and dedicated themselves to sport at such a young age and they are reaping the rewards.”


“It’s exciting to see this event unfold,” said Beckie Scott, Chef de Mission of the 2012 Canadian Youth Olympic Team. “The world has come to compete at the highest level and our athletes are distinguishing themselves in what is, for most of our athletes, their first international competition.”


The men’s hockey team won their round robin match-up against their continental rivals, the United States by a score of 5-1 in front of a full house at Olympiaworld Innsbruck.
Eric Cornell from Kemptville, Ont. and Kamloops, B.C.’s Ryan Gropp paced the Canadian attack with three points each.


“It feels good. Any time we play the U.S. it’s a tough battle,” Cornell said. “It’s our second game together and we’re getting more confidence. We just need to keep getting better and build off each other.”


The team’s record now stands at 1-1 and their next game will be Tuesday against the host Austrian squad.

The Canadian curling team won their morning draw 6-0 against Italy before dispatching Great Britain 8-2 in the afternoon game. Canada owns a 2-1 record and will face Russia and Sweden tomorrow.

“It was a great day. We bounced back really well,” said team skip Thomas Scoffin, from Whitehorse. “Tomorrow we just want to do the same thing and play the same game. We have some momentum now, so we just want to ride the wave.”

Freestyle Ski halfpipe made its debut at an International Olympic Committee event, with Canadians in the mix.

Calgary’s Shannon Gunning was 4th in the women’s event, while teammate Aaron McKay, also from Calgary, finished 6th.

“I'm stoked that I stomped my second run,” said Gunning. “This is an incredible experience. I'm glad I get to be here before halfpipe is even in the Olympics.”

“This is amazing,” said McKay. “I'm just so grateful to even have the opportunity to be here. The culture is amazing and the skiing is awesome.”


The men’s and women’s Snowboard halfpipe event also took place, with Michael Ciccarelli from Ancaster, Ont. finishing in 4th place, while Ottawa’s Quincy Korte-King was 5th.

“I felt good. I stomped both my runs,” Ciccarelli said. “This is like nothing I've ever seen before. I'll just keep getting better.”

”I gave it everything I had today,” Korte-King said. “It’s great being surrounded by so many world-class athletes.”

Stuart Harden, from Calgary, was 4th in the men’s 7.5 km sprint Biathlon event. Aidan Millar from Canmore Alta. Was 43rd.

“I couldn’t be much happier about my race today,” Harden said. “I’m really looking forward to the pursuit race tomorrow. If I shoot as well as I did today, it could be my day.”

On the women’s side, Calgary’s Danielle Vrielink finished 9th in the women’s 6 km sprint, while teammate Sarah Beaudry from Prince George, B.C. was 22nd.

“Everything went according to our plan,” said Vrielink. “I had great skis, great coaching and that leads to great racing. I’m pretty close for the pursuit. I have some people to chase and people chasing me and that gives me the extra edge.”

Calgary’s Mitchell Malyk was 5th in the men’s singles Luge competition and teammate John Fennell was 7th.

“I was happy to pull off 5th place with my second run,” Malyk said. “I was a little cautious in my first run but, for my second run, I went for it and gave it everything I’ve got.”

“This is so incredible,” Fennell said. “To hear the roar of the crowd and all the appreciation from the fans and the team here -- it’s just amazing.”

Veronica Remme, from Blue Mountains, Ont., finished 9th in the women’s super-combined Alpine Skiing event, while teammate Mikaela Tommy, from Wakefield, Que., did not finish.

“It was a lot of fun,” Remme said. “This is my first international multi-sport Games. It’s a huge deal. I had no idea how big it would be until we got here.”

Montreal’s Lambert Quezel was 18th in the men’s super-combined competition. His teammate Martin Grasic, from Invermere, B.C., finished 20th.

Nathaniel Mah from Calgary was 11th in the men’s Nordic Combined competition.

Day 4 will see medals awarded in Luge and Biathlon. The Canadian curling team hits the ice again and Olympiaworld Innsbruck will also host the qualification round for the Ice Hockey skills competition.

For the most up-to-date results and information about the Canadian Team, click on http://innsbruck.olympic.ca.