Kelsey Serwa and Brittany Phelan notch ski cross one-two for Canada
PyeongChang (KOR) - Canadian freestyle skiers Kelsey Serwa and Brittany Phelan demonstrated that friends who train together can also win medals together when they finished first and second respectively in ladies' ski cross at Phoenix Snow Park on Friday.
Serwa, runner-up in the event at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, looked back after crossing the finish line to see teammate Phelan edge out Fanny Smiith (SUI) for silver.
"Our skis were rockets today," Serwa said. "I had a plan and executed it, and was so fired up. And to be there with my teammate and best friend Britt, too."
Friday's competition was the second in which Canada have taken Olympic gold and silver in women's ski cross. Marielle Thompson triumphed four years ago with Serwa coming second.
With the win in Phoenix Park Serwa became the first athlete with multiple medals in ski cross (men's and ladies') at the Winter Games.
"It was cool. We went 1-2 in Sochi, and to do it again is unbelievable," Serwa said. "Not only that, to go one (win gold) on the men's side too, with our teammate Brady Leman, is really surreal. I think it speaks volumes about how strong our programme is."
Phelan said sharing the podium with her closest friend was reward for the way the pair help each other on and off the course.
"It's having that person who's on the the same schedule and that supports you no matter what, that tells you, 'You suck' if you suck, but helps you out and how to get better," she said. "It couldn't have worked out any better: to finish second behind my best friend, it's like a dream come true."
Canada won the ladies' ski cross in 2010 and 2014 and with another victory at PyeongChang 2018 marked the second time Canadian athletes won a specific freestyle skiing event three times in a row. Canada also won the men's moguls in 2010, 2014 and 2018.
For Smith, her bronze medal means she can banish the disappointment of previous Olympic Winter Games where she failed to qualify for the final.
"It's just a revenge I get at the Olympic Games," the 25-year-old said. "I'm so happy to get a medal, finally, after my third Olympic Games, so it means a lot to me."
Sandra Naeslund (SWE) was unable to hide her disappointment at finishing fourth after she and Smith made contact during the final.
"I was going for the gold and now I am here with the fourth place, so of course it is hard to take," Naeslund said.