Elite Amateur Sport Skiing

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Siblings Hannah, Jared Schmidt named to Canada’s Olympic ski cross team

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

For the past two World Cup ski cross seasons, siblings Jared and Hannah Schmidt of Dunrobin, ON., have followed one philosophy: keep getting better every day.

Don’t worry about results, team selections or championships. By listening to your coach and improving your skills in all areas, the rest will take care of itself.

It certainly did on Friday as the Schmidts were named to Canada’s Beijing Winter Olympic Games team in the discipline of ski cross, where four skiers fire out of starting chutes at the top of a hill and race each other down a challenging course with hills, valleys and sharp turns.

“I am very excited to be named to the 2022 Beijing Olympic team,” Jared wrote in an email to HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition from his bubble environment in Canmore, AB., where the team is in its final preparation stage before travelling to Beijing. “Even though most of the athletes had a good idea who was going, it feels good to see it officially be announced.

“Both Hannah and I have worked extremely hard over these past few years and it’s great to see it paying off with great results, qualifying us for the Olympics.”

In their second year on the ski cross World Cup circuit, they have made impressive marks in different ways.

Hannah, 27, is currently ranked fifth on the women’s World Cup points list. Although she has yet to win a medal in her 20 career World Cup races, she has been extremely consistent this season with five top-five results in her eight races. After placing fourth at a race in Italy, she was fifth and sixth in two Canadian-based World Cups in Nakiska, AB., last weekend.

Jared, 24, has three top-10 showings in his 20 World Cup races, but two of them have put him on the medal podium. He was the bronze medallist at races in Arosa, Switzerland, Dec. 14, 2021, and Bakuriani, Georgia, on Feb. 27, 2021.

Both Hannah and Jared moved into ski cross with strong backgrounds in alpine skiing.

“I think my success in ski cross came from my overall love of skiing,” Jared added. “As a kid growing up skiing at Mont Tremblant, I always loved going skiing on powder days and playing in the terrain park with friends in between racing and training for alpine skiing.

“And when I found ski cross, this seemed like the perfect balance of alpine and jumps mixed with head-to-head racing.”

Parents Bevin and L.A. Schmidt were thrilled to see the hard work of their two children earn Olympic dividends.

“We’re both excited. It has been a long journey and we’re super stoked to watch them on TV,” Bevin said.

“All the years they did alpine skiing really made the difference. (Ski cross) requires strong alpine skills, which boded well for our kids. They needed to know how to spend time in the air and ski on all kinds of terrain. They were given that opportunity at Mont Tremblant.”

L.A. Schmidt was emotional, when talking about her children being named to represent Canada at the Olympics.

“It’s amazing. I’ll probably cry,” she said before catching her breath. “It’s pretty incredible. Hard work pays off.

“If it happens, it happens. They just want to get better in the sport. They never worried about their ski results or what they had to do to make the Olympic team. These are really good lessons. They listened to their coaches and worked as a team.”

Meanwhile, Valerie Grenier of St-Isidore, ON., was selected to the women’s Olympic alpine ski team. She has made a definite statement in her four giant slalom races this season. On the World Cup circuit, she recently was fourth in Kranjska Gora and seventh in the opening race in Soelden in October. At the Italian alpine ski championships this week, she won both women’s giant slalom races.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.

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