Courtesy of Red Bull Newsroom
Discover more about alpine skiing’s oldest world champion Erik Guay.
There are not many skiing fans outside of his native Canada who would have tipped veteran Erik Guay to contend for multiple medals at the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Sure, the 35-year-old had notched a third place in the Val Gardena super-G race before Christmas nevertheless he hadn’t strung together a consistent run of podiums for three years.
The Montreal man, though, loves St. Moritz which is lucky as the Swiss resort is the venue for the sport’s biennial showpiece event.
He had three career sixth places there to his name across downhill and super-G heading into the 2016 FIS World Cup downhill where he rolled back the years with a classy third place behind Beat Feuz and Steven Nyman.
Last week Guay went two better when he destroyed his rivals with a superb run to win super-G gold by 0.45 seconds from Kjetil Jansrud and compatriot Manuel Osborne-Paradis – enough to be crowned the oldest alpine world champion in history.
His beaming smile at the finish highlighted how shocked he was, especially after sitting out the 2015 season thanks to a pair of injuries on his left knee – something which might have forced other athletes to retire.
However Guay is no ordinary athlete. He first started competing way back in 1996 on his native Quebec slopes before graduating to the Canadian senior team at the 2003 World Championships at yes, you guessed it, St. Moritz.
He went on to win World Cup downhills and super-Gs including a particular affinity for Germany with his 2011 World Championships and 2007 World Cup victories seeing him crowned ‘The King of Garmisch’.
When quizzed on this, he once admitted: “Yah, I kinda like Garmisch!”
Guay is most definitely a family man, him and wife Karen bringing three daughters into the world based in the picturesque Mont-Tremblant municipality of Quebec.
What else does this modest man get a kick out of away from the slopes?
He revealed to the FIS: “I go every year to the Formula One in Montreal. I’d love to be able to go and watch a couple of other races, but my schedule doesn’t always allow it.
“Formula One is such a great sport and there are so many similarities between car racing and downhill with the speed, the lines, the anticipation that sort of thing, a lot of tinkering with equipment.”
Not content with one medal in St. Moritz, Guay promptly pulled another vintage performance out the bag to grab a sensational silver in Sunday’s delayed downhill to add more gloss to a memorable two weeks in Switzerland.
It could well be his last World Championships, the physical strain huge on an athlete’s body 10 years his junior let alone one 35 years old.
He told the National Post: “It’s emotional, for sure, knowing what I’ve been through and knowing what my family’s been through and just having clawed back from all these injuries.
“But I never lost faith. I knew I had it in me. I know that when I’m healthy, I can be competitive. That’s never left me.
“The Games are a year away and in a year of sport, a lot can happen between now and then. You need to take it step by step and focus on these next races and then you start focusing on the off-season.”
A final 2018 PyeongChang tilt is still an option, but let’s just savour the Canadian Cowboy’s amazing 2017 performances for now.