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Soaring to new heights: Canadian ski jump team continues to shock the world

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Canada's ski jumping team ended up being one of the best stories to come out of the 2022 Olympic Winter games in Beijing, China when they came from nowhere to win a bronze medal in the team jumping event.

It didn't end there, either.

That's because last week, Calgary's Alexandria Loutitt, who is 19, became the first Canadian to ever win a World Cup ski jump event.

Louttit won her first-ever World Cup at an event in Zao, Japan when she soared through the air for a combined 240.3 points and says it was an unbelievable feeling.

"I mean I know when I landed that it could be a first place, it was for sure a podium," she said.

"When I was standing there with my teammate Abigail (Strate), she and I were hugging and when we saw the score come up on the screen and she picked me up, that's when it really hit me."

MEANT A LOT

A win like this can do wonders for a sport.  The 19-year-old Louttit knew right away it meant a lot.

"It's that same feeling I had at the Olympics when we won the medal where it's like this is an opportunity to create positive change for my sport in my country."

MOVING AWAY TO TRAIN

The Canadian ski jumping team never seems to get any respect.  They've had their funding cut and then a few years ago, WinSport shut down its practice facility.

Rather than give up, the Canadian team moved to Slovenia where they lived and trained for up to 10 months a year.

Head coach Zanko Zwitter hopes this result paves the way for a new ski jumping facility that's closer to home than Slovenia.

"The next level would be for sure to have training facilities in Canada," Zwitter said.

"To have support from the parents and from the home crowd and from people all around.  That would be the highlight of course."

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION

Loutitt was just freshly back onto the  tour when she won the World Cup.  She had been out recovering from a foot injury.  She hopes her victory will inspire the next generation of ski jumpers.

"As a young athlete growing up and watching some of my heroes - although they never won a World Cup but even watching them perform at a high level - it was something that pushed you forward," she said.  "It's that [feeling of] I can be there and I can do that."

MORE TO COME

Zwitter believes this won't be the last we hear from the Canadian women's ski jumping team.

"When I started one and a half years ago I could already see this potential of these ladies", he said.

"It's more to come, I can almost promise you that."

The Canadian women are in Hinterzgarten, Germany next weekend.

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