Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A medal from the Earl of Wessex

At the British ski finals in France

Posing with His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (center) are Sun Valley‘s Jay Fitzgerald (left) and Jordan Fitzgerald.Courtesy photo

Young Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation athletes Jordan and Jay Fitzgerald recently returned from Meribel, France, where they competed in British National Children's Alpine Ski Championships.

The Fitzgeralds maintain dual nationality and qualified for the championships after submitting their U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) points to the race organizers.

The national championships are limited to 90 boys and 60 girls, who are grouped in the equivalent of the USSA's J3 (ages 13-14) and J4 (11-12) age categories. They consist of super giant slalom, giant slalom and slalom competitions.

Although Great Britain is not a dominant ski nation at the World Cup level, most of the elite competitors attend race academies in the U.S., Austria, France or Italy.

Jay said, "The competition was extremely strong, especially in slalom because the British skiers train on indoor snow or artificial slopes."

Despite poor snow conditions, the championships were held in the same race arena that was used for the women's alpine events during the 1992 Albertville (Fra.) Winter Olympics. Jordan placed first in GS, second in SL and DNFd in SG. Jay placed ninth in GS, 27th SL and 17th in SG.

Though both SVSEF racers were without British qualification points, and started each race at the end of the bib order, they demonstrated exceptional athleticism to succeed under difficult circumstances, according to a SVSEF press release.

Jordan was awarded the gold medal and the Hillend Salver perpetual trophy as the fastest girl in the GS competition. She received a silver medal in slalom from His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

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