Alpine skiing-Guay so proud even if Canadians have not noticed

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:41am EST

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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany Feb 12 (Reuters) - New world downhill champion Erik Guay is proud of his achievements even if they have gone largely unrecognised at home.

The Canadian said his two fifth-place finishes in the downhill and Super G at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics had stuck in the minds of his fellow countrymen and women.

Subsequent performances, including his World Cup Super G title last year, went almost unnoticed in a country where alpine skiing is not a mainstream sport.

"Last year was tough because the public wanted Olympic medals and when I won the (World Cup) crystal globe that seemed to get overlooked," Guay told reporters after his downhill victory here on Saturday.

"If this is a big thing at home or not, I don't know, but I'm proud."

Guay said the line between winning a medal or going home empty-handed was especially fine in skiing.

"Skiing is a sport where sometimes you are the right side of the hundredths of a second and sometimes on the wrong side," said the 29-year-old.

"The 2006 Olympics in Turin was really tough, finishing fourth (in the Super G), and in Vancouver I was hundredths of a second off the podium twice.

"I would not say I choked, sometimes things just don't go your way."

Guay's victory on Saturday was a rare boost for Canada who have been plagued by injuries including last season's broken leg sustained by John Kucera, winner of the same title two years ago in Val D'Isere.

Robbie Dixon, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Ryan Semple and Francois Bourque are also sidelined while Guay has been suffering from back pain.

"It's been tough but you just have to keep on fighting," he said. "John was not here to defend his title so I thought it would be appropriate if I kept it."

(Editing by Tony Jimenez. To comment on this story: sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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