By Steve Hubrecht
Panorama alpine racer Cassidy Gray and her three teammates in the Canadian mixed team parallel slalom event were beaten by Slovenia in the first round at the Beijing Olympics.
Gray was participating in her second event at the Beijing Games, in the mixed team parallel event on Sunday, Feb. 20, after she had competed in the women’s giant slalom (GS) earlier in the Olympics.
The mixed parallel slalom is relatively new to the Olympics, having become an official medal sport only four years ago at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea. The event is contested by national teams made up of four skiers (two women and two men). In each round, two countries race each other directly in a knockout style format. Two skiers, one from each country, ski down a set of side-by-side identical courses at the same time, and whoever crosses the finish line first gets one point for their country. After all eight skiers (four from each country) have raced, the country with the most points goes on to the next round. If the score is tied, then the country with the best aggregate time (the total time of all four skiers) goes to the next round.
The event was originally scheduled to be held on Saturday, Feb. 19, but high winds at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre, about an hour outside of Beijing, forced the parallel mixed team slalom race to be postponed until the following day.
Canada met Slovenia right off the bat, in the 1/8th final, with the winning team then moving on the quarterfinals. Canadian woman racer Erin Mielzynski was the first down the course for Canada, beating Slovenian Ana Bucik, to give the Canadians a 1 point advantage. Slovenian male Miha Hrobat then beat Canadian Erik Read to tie the event between Canada and Slovenia at 1 point apiece. Gray then took to the course, but was beaten by Slovenian woman Andreja Slokar, giving Slovenia a 2-1 lead in points. Trevor Philp beat Slovenian Jan Kranjec to tie the score 2-2, but the Slovenians advanced to quarterfinals as they had the better aggregate team time.
In the end, the top ranked Austrian mixed parallel team won the gold medal. American superstar alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who had earlier in the Games shocked observers by getting disqualified in both the slalom and the giant slalom events (events in which she had previously won Olympic gold) missed in her final bid for an Olympic medal at the Beijing Games, after she and her American teammates finished fourth in the mixed team slalom, getting beaten by Norway in the bronze medal round.