Canadian ski ace Jan Hudec definitely not napping on the job
Jan Hudec is interrupted by a phone call just before nap time.
What? How the heck can the guy sleep at a time like this?
He’s on an incredible roll with another podium Friday, his first ever in Super-G, a second-place finish in Crans Montana, Switzerland – kayaker David Ford aptly suggested via Twitter that they replaced his legs with bionic ones on his seventh knee surgery.
The Canadian team is also on an amazing run, five podium finishes in five races – the Fab Three of Hudec, Erik Guay and Ben Thomsen have combined for that.
Sure the guy’s earned his rest, but being able to grab a few winks before the medal ceremony in Crans Montana bespeaks of one cool customer.
There’s no question Hudec has got his mojo back after a long time in the alpine wildnerness, plagued by knee and back problems. As he acknowledges, he reckons he can keep it going as long as his body holds up. Right now, he is in the zone.
“I think that’s how it happens in sports for sure,” said Hudec, who kindly agreed to postpone his nap for a quick interview. “Once you kind of get the feeling of what it feels like to be fast, to be winning, it’s something you can kind of recreate day after day or it’s a little bit easier to re-create. You get that feeling. It’s something you wake up in the morning with.
“It was nice to keep it going for the team today and I know tomorrow Erik wants to keep it up and get on the podium (in another Super-G in Crans Montana).”
Make no mistake about it, what the Canadian men’s downhill team is accomplishing right now is something special. They’re a small unit because of injury, battling against the European alpine giants like Switzerland.
“I think people are watching us more closely and seem to be more interested than usual, but so far I think we’re still the likeable Canadians,” said Hudec. “Everyone still gives us the big handshakes and are very friendly. I think a lot of people even in other countries – especially France and Switzerland – are very excited for us to do well. It’s nice to have that support from general ski fans as well.”
As the speed team’s head coach Johno McBride described it, the skiers are thriving on a good energy on the squad and a sense of confidence.
“It’s been fun for the last few weeks because when one guy isn’t completely on top of his game somewhere – like Erik and I in Sochi, for instance – Ben was right there chomping at the bit,” said Hudec, referring to Thomsen’s second-place finish on the 2014 Olympic course. “He took the pressure off us and kept the ‘team momentum’ going.
“Obviously I want to say I can keep it going but you’re up against 80 of the top skiers in the world and about 20 of them can win on any given day. It’s one of those things where you try to do it every day and if you don’t, you hope one of your teammates can. That’s what we’ve been feeding off of the last couple of weeks is feeding off each other.”
Okay, Jan, thanks for this. Now get that nap.
(AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)