The curtain fell Sunday on the freestyle ski jumping season with two bronze medalists from Quebec. Émile Nadeau tasted the podium for the first time in his career at the World Cup final in Kazakhstan, while Marion Thénault received her fourth medal of the season.
At the Engadin World Cup earlier this season in Switzerland, Nadeau had too much rotation in one of his jumps. It left traces. In training, he hesitated in his maneuvers and he had to adjust in order to regain his confidence.
The Prévost skier managed to adapt and temporarily take the lead in the super-final with 96.83 points. Three jumpers still had to start. After the Swiss Pirmin Werner (118.55) beat Nadeau, the American Christopher Lillis missed his jump, thereby ensuring a place on the podium for the young Quebecer.
“I didn’t think that was possible!” I knew the next three were strong and could beat me. When I heard Chris Lillis score, I didn’t get it! It was really fun, just happiness,” Émile Nadeau told Sportcom, who took part in his first super-final this season.
Swiss Noe Roth won gold (123.00). Also in action, Miha Fontaine and Alexandre Duchaine finished 9th and 14th.
Émile Nadeau said he was happy to end on the podium a season he described as “below his expectations”. At the beginning of January, he injured his ankle during a preparatory camp in the United States in anticipation of the World Cup scheduled for Le Relais station.
Ideally, the 19-year-old athlete would have skipped this event, which he nevertheless wanted to participate in front of his loved ones. The injury forced him to miss the Deer Valley stage a week later and kept him out of the ramps for three weeks.
“I had a tough season and I would have liked to make more finals,” he admitted. It’s fun to end on a positive note. After a tough week of training, I didn’t think it was possible! It shows me that I am capable of making a podium and it is really good for confidence. »
The crystal globe was handed over to Noe Roth at the end of the day. Alexandre Duchaine is the highest ranked Canadian in sixth place.
Thénault came to Almaty with the idea of making people forget her poor performance two weeks ago, when she finished 16th in the World Cup in Engadin, Switzerland.
The energy was lacking throughout the week, but this goal was enough to motivate the Sherbrooke resident, who had scored her first World Cup victory on this same track last season.
“After Switzerland, it was very difficult mentally to come back. I could no longer win the crystal globe and that demotivated me. I wanted to come back to prove to myself that I was capable of experiencing failure and that I was capable of learning from all of this,” explained Thénault.
“I didn’t want to leave anything behind and go all out from the start. There, I have nothing left inside of me, I’m really tired! With the fatigue, I would not have another weekend to give. »
Second in qualifying, she narrowly made it to the super-final by taking sixth place in the first final.
In the final round, her 93.76 points put her behind Australia’s Laura Peel (110.36) and Danielle Scott (97.99).
Half of the training sessions were canceled this week due to the clouds which affected the visibility of the athletes. Thénault had only performed two triple twists before the super-final.
“This week I struggled to adjust to the place and I wasn’t at my peak. The landing strip is very long and we generated a lot of speed. At this point in the season, I know that I am capable and I had no hesitation in my jumps. I make it work no matter the track,” she said.
The Quebecer ends the 2022-2023 season in third place in the final World Cup standings. Danielle Scott earned the crystal globe and her compatriot Laura Peel takes second place.
“Third is good, although I would have preferred to win the globe!” I really wanted to finish on a podium and finish strong. It’s motivating for the future, I did well and I know I can do even better. Now we need a little rest, “concluded the one who will have accumulated four medals this season, including a gold at Le Relais station, last January.