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Canadian ski legend likes Gagnon's chances

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According to Canadian Olympic gold medalist Nancy Greene on Monday, Canadian alpine skier Marie-Michele Gagnon needs to be considered as a medal contender at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

In an interview with Greene at Calgary's Canada Sports Hall of Fame, Greene believes history is on Gagnon's side.

"Realistically we are not favoured to win a medal in any of the events, however unrealistically and hopefully and knowing the history of Canadian women, Marie-Michele Gagnon can come up with a medal for the women."

The statement is significant because of Greene's prestigious resume. She won the gold medal in the women's giant slalom for Canada at the 1968 Olympic Winter Games in Grenoble and was the Canadian female athlete of the 20th century.

Canada has not won an Olympic medal in alpine skiing since Edi Podivinsky of Edmonton won a bronze medal in the men's downhill at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer.

For Canada to improve on the international stage, Greene thinks there needs to be more funding in place at the provincial level.

"We need to somehow find a better funding mechanism for our provincial teams. It's too expensive to race at the provincial level and some just give up because they just can't afford it."

Greene believes a major reason why Austria will be a contender for ten Olympic medals comes down to priority.

"Alpine skiing is to Austria as hockey is to Canada. We're in their backyard, playing on their slopes and trying to beat them. It's like having an Austrian team trying to beat an NHL team. They are the favourites because it's their sport. We love it when we beat them."

Gagnon is Canada's best chance to beat the Austrians. She is currently ranked first on the World Cup circuit in the women's super combined. That event, which will see skiers compete one super giant slalom run and one slalom run, will take place February 10.

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