|Canadian's Deliver Unique Challenge|
Silver Star, BC - North America's top skiers kicked off the Merrill Lynch race weekend of Continental Cup racing yesterday, with a unique challenge in mind. The Canadian team has challenged their American counterparts to donate all prize money won during this weekend's events to the UNICEF relief efforts in Afghanistan.
"We were inspired to do this from watching the news and seeing the images of the people," explained Vermillion, Alberta's Beckie Scott who initiated the challenge. "We have a privileged lifestyle here in North America and think that contributing our prize money from a weekend of racing is not asking too much."
If the challenge is taken seriously, then the American women have started off well. In a field of 70 women, Alaskan skier Nina Kempel earned the top potential contribution through her win in the women's 6km classic style event where she finished in a time of 20:11, and earned $600.00. Fellow Alaskan, Wendy Wagner followed Kempel in a time of 20:22. Scott rounded out the top 3 today, finishing in 20:25. Renner followed Scott in 20:35 for fourth.
"So far, the American women's response to the challenge has been very positive," says Scott, who hopes that their challenge will result in action on the Americans' part as well as on the part of the Canadians. "I'm optimistic that people's conscience will prevail," she says of those who may have not yet accepted the challenge.
On the men's side, Donald Farley from Lorraine, Quebec earned a potentially strong Canadian contribution by placing first out of 140 men in the 12km event in a time of 35:30. Farley was followed by American skier Mark Gilbertson in 36:08, and John Bauer from Minnesota in 36:23.
Race action continues today with the night sprint event. Stay tuned to skifaster.net for updates and results.
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