Canadian ski jumpers win Olympic bronze in mixed team competition

Canada has won a surprise bronze medal in mixed team ski jumping at the Beijing Winter Games.

Event is making its Winter Games debut in Beijing

Canada's Alexandria Loutitt, left, celebrates with teammates Matthew Soukup, Abigail Strate and Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes after winning a bronze medal in the ski jumping mixed team event at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Monday in Zhangjiakou, China. (Matthias Schrader/The Associated Press)

Canada won a historic — and surprise — bronze medal in mixed team ski jumping at the Beijing Olympic Winter Games on Monday.

Alexandria Loutitt, Matthew Soukup, Abigail Strate and Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes captured the medal in the first-ever mixed team event at an Olympic Games.

Slovenia won the gold medal with 1001.5 total points, while the Russian Olympic Committee took silver with 890.3 points. Canada garnered 844.6 points.

The Canadians, who were in no way considered medal contenders, took advantage of an opportunity when top teams like world champion Germany were disqualified before the final. 

Boyd-Clowes was last to jump for Team Canada, and travelled 101.5 metres to score 128.1 points, to secure Canada a podium finish. The bronze is Canada's first-ever Olympic medal in ski jumping.

WATCH | Historic bronze medal 'means everything' to Canadian ski jumpers:

Boyd-Clowes said Monday the team's move to Slovenia has paid off.

"We've had a lot of help. We've moved over to Slovenia, and we've had so many Slovenian coaches helping us, working with the American team, doing anything we can to keep going, and it brought us here," he told CBC's Andi Petrillo. "So, forever grateful."

Training with Europeans helpful

The medal was also consolation for Loutitt, 18, who was disqualified after her first jump in Saturday's individual women's event after weighing in 300 grams too light.

After the team's win, Loutitt also said training alongside her European counterparts has helped her improve.

"I definitely feel like it's pushed me to not just be a better athlete on the hill, but taking everything more seriously in the sense of sport," she said. "You know, watching how these girls live, they dedicate their lives to sport, and I decided that I was going to do the same."

WATCH | Full replay of the mixed team ski jumping competition:

Germany, which has won four successive world championships, failed to move on from the 10-team opening round after individual silver medallist Katharina Althaus was disqualified for a suit violation.

Japan, Austria and Norway also fell afoul of the complex rules that link suits and skis to bodyweight in an attempt to remove any advantage that can be gained by athletes being lighter. Japan finished fourth after Olympic champion in Sunday's normal hill event Ryoyu Kobayashi had a jump disqualified.

Although ski jumping has been part of the Olympic program since the Games began in 1924, women only got their own event in 2014, but with only a normal hill competition. The men have normal, large and team medals to compete for.

The mixed team event has been a world championship regular since 2013, with Germany winning the last four editions. The Germans, Austrians, Japanese and Norwegian jumpers have won all 15 available medals between them.

WATCH | Canada wins historic bronze in mixed team ski jumping:

With files from Reuters

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