MONT-SAINTE-ANNE, QUE. (March 25, 2012) – Canada’s Anna Goodman wrote the final chapter of her ski racing career in her own unique style on Sunday, claiming her first Canadian Championships podium in her last race with the national team before taking part in a ceremonial farewell run down the course – dressed in a banana costume.
Goodman, of Pointe Claire, Que., announced on Saturday that she plans to retire after a brilliant eight-year career with the Canadian Alpine Ski Team that saw her establish herself as one of North America’s best slalom racers and blaze a trail for a new generation of female technical skiers.
The 26-year-old finished second in Sunday’s slalom behind her good friend Marie-Michèle Gagnon, of Lac-Etchemin, Que. After the race, Goodman’s teammates, fellow racers and coaches gathered in the finish area to cheer her on as she took part in a comical farewell run down the course. Goodman, whose nickname is “Anna Banana,” decided to wear a huge yellow banana suit for the post-race celebration. When she finally made it to the bottom of the hill after a tricky run in the oversized costume, she was embraced by teammates, sprayed with alcohol-free champagne, presented with flowers and generally mobbed by the crowd.
In honour of Goodman, her teammates wore bright red lipstick and tie-dye T-shirts, which they made during an earlier ladies’ team get-together. Goodman was much-loved within the women’s team for organizing tie-dye sessions, arts and crafts and a variety of other social activities.
“It was really cool. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end it,” Goodman said. “I was mostly just laughing. My parents were there and they were more emotional than I was.
Like most of Goodman’s teammates, Gagnon waited in the finish area for her friend to make it down the course in her banana suit. “I was at the bottom holding flowers and screaming,” Gagnon said. “It was funny. She straddled – she couldn’t see much! It’s sad because we don’t want her to leave but we do understand. We are happy for her.”
Gagnon, the defending Canadian slalom champion, put on a masterclass during the race itself, winning both runs and building up a huge lead to take the victory with a two-run combined time of one minute, 38.81 seconds. “It was pretty good,” Gagnon said. “It’s great that I just skied like I do in training – two good runs with no big mistakes. I’m happy.”
Goodman, who was second after the first run, was fifth-fastest in the second run and finished second overall with a time of 1:40.42. Goodman, who completed a successful comeback from injury this season, was competing in her first Canadian Championships since 2009. Her previous best result at nationals was a fifth-place finish in slalom way back in 2003 in Whistler, B.C.
Madison Irwin, of Toronto, Ont., and Norway’s Kristina Riis-Johannessen tied for third with identical times of 1:42.02. National team racer Préfontaine, of Saint-Sauveur, Que., was eighth (1:43.86), while Erin Mielzynski, of Guelph, Ont., and Britt Phelan, of Mont-Tremblant, Que., did not finish their first runs. The top Canadian junior racer on Sunday was Raymond James Alberta Ski Team member Tianda Carroll, of Jasper, Alta., who was 11th with a time of 1:44.88.
Mielzynski, who straddled during her first run, took on the task of spraying her good friend Goodman with champagne in the finish area at the end of her post-race farewell.
“It must have been hard for her to ski (in a banana costume). She was so yellow going down the hill,” Mielzynski said. “Everyone at the bottom had an individual flower for her and as she came into the finish everyone was cheering. I sprayed her with non-alcoholic champagne and all the kids wanted her autograph. It was really cool.
“It was a nice way to send her off. It was a good way to show how much she meant to everyone. It was very special and heartfelt.”
The overall Nor-Am Cup title for the men went down to the wire Saturday in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que., but Canada’s Erik Read came out on top to earn a World Cup spot in every discipline for the 2012-13 season.
Read, of Calgary, Alta., was crowned the overall Nor-Am Cup champion after finishing first in the standings by just 10 points – edging out the USA’s Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who was second. Both Read and Cochran-Siegle waited nervously in the finish area after Saturday’s Nor-Am Cup slalom race as they waited for the final positions to be calculated. Cochran-Siegle finished seventh in Saturday’s slalom, while Read – who recently returned to action following a knee injury - was 21st. The Audi Nor-Am Cup slalom was won by World Cup veteran Mike Janyk, of Whistler, B.C..