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Canada's Manuel Osborne-Paradis races to World Cup downhill silver

03/07/2015 10:30 EST | Updated 05/07/2015 05:59 EDT
KVITFJELL, Norway - Canadian skier Manuel Osborne-Paradis went for a long walk earlier this week to ponder his future.

The 31-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., had crashed a couple of times this season, and caution had crept in.

"I was thinking 'Your mind is not into the skiing, you're scared, you're skiing scared,'" Osborne-Paradis said. "I was thinking 'Is this how my career ends? I have a couple crashes and I just ski my way out of the top 30?'"

Osborne-Paradis answered with a resounding 'no' on Saturday, racing to a silver medal in a World Cup downhill. The native of North Vancouver, B.C., finished three tenths of a second behind winner Hannes Reichelt of Austria.

Reichelt claimed his second straight downhill victory with a time of one minute 29.65 seconds on the Olympiabakken course. Werner Heel of Italy was third, 0.38 off the pace.

Osborne-Paradis, who won gold in Kvitfjell six years ago, posted the fastest speed Saturday, at one point surpassing 150 kilometres an hour. It's the second medal of the season for the Canadian, who won a silver in the downhill at Lake Louise, Alta.

The Canadian told himself on his walk: "Find your courage, find your will to win.

"I think I was able to do that," he said on a conference call. "It's the only way to ski fast, to want to ski fast. That was a nice feeling today results aside. . . . skiing was fun today. Let me tell you, when you're going 140 kilometres an hour and you don't want to be going 140 kilometres an hour, that is a scary, scary time in your life."

Osborne-Paradis got off to a rough start on his run to the podium. He made a mistake coming out of the start gate, and was in last place through the first split time. He lost more time on the first gate, but then started to pick up momentum.

"I was definitely making up time the whole way down," he said. "I was kind of in shock at the bottom, I didn't celebrate at all. I was just kind of like 'Huh, I cannot believe that that was the second-place run,' because it felt like all the other runs I've had.

"But I focused on skiing this time, and not on the tactics, (not) skiing like I'm reading it out of a book, but skiing more like I knew how to do it from the back of my head."

Osborne-Paradis said it had been clear this season that his head wasn't in the right place.

"Everybody was asking me 'Why am I not pushing, pushing?'" he said. "I said 'I'm just happy with the speed that I'm going. I don't feel like I want to go faster.' And as a downhill racer, it's not good. . . not taking a risk at every gate, that's not skiing to be the best in the world, that's just skiing to be a participant."

Osborne-Paradis will race a giant slalom on Sunday, then wrap up the season with the World Cup finals in Meribel, France.

Reichelt was also quickest in Thursday's opening training session and on all three days including training at Garmisch-Partenkirchen last weekend.

Reichelt has 485 points ahead of the final downhill race at Meribel, France on Mar. 18, putting pressure on standings leader Kjetil Jansrud, who could have claimed the discipline title on home snow.

Two mistakes cost the Norwegian dearly as he finished 0.54 off the pace in seventh.

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