Vail’s Del Bosco 11th in Ontario; inching closer to berth? |

Vail’s Del Bosco 11th in Ontario; inching closer to berth?

BLUE MOUNTAIN, Ontario – As far as the chase for the Olympics goes, the only thing preventing Vail’s Lindsey Vonn from making the American Team is if she were to fall off a ski lift.

Vonn is all but packed for Canada and Monday’s announcement of all national ski teams will be a formality.

There is quiet, and well-founded, optimism in the Sarah Schleper camp that the technical skier will be making her fourth Olympics appearance in Vancouver, British Columbia, next month. She’s the top American and giant slalom and the second in slalom behind Vonn, after all.

Then there is skicross’ Chris Del Bosco, who’s vying for a spot on Team Canada. A resident of Eagle-Vail with dual citizenship, Del Bosco seems to be closing in on his Olympic dreams with an 11th-place finish at Wednesday’s World Cup at Blue Mountain, Ontario.

While Del Bosco didn’t make the finals, which is probably a disappointment to him, this his fourth top-11 finish in row after a slow start to the season.

Del Bosco’s run included a win last week at Alpe d’Huez, France, last week, but that’s where it starts to get interesting. Because the event was shortened due to weather, Del Bosco got his World Cup points, but the finish was not valid for the Canadian Olympic Team qualification purposes.

And Team Canada has a bit of a mess on is hands when it comes to its qualifying process. It is taking its top-18 freestyle athletes – from aerials, moguls and skicross – based on each athletes top-four finishes on the World Cup dating back to the beginning of the 2008-09 season. Two of those four finishes must be from the 2009-10 season and of the team’s 18 athletes, no more than 10 can be of one gender.

So as strange as this sounds, Del Bosco, despite being ranked No. 2 in the world last year, holding down the sixth spot this year and being the top Canadian man in both years in World Cup points, has not nailed down an official berth to the Games yet.

Del Bosco’s portfolio right now looks good. He got his first World Cup win last February and any one of his three second-lace finishes from last year will count toward his resume. His top-two finishes for Olympic consideration this year are a sixth at Les Contamines, France, and 10th at St. Johann, Austria.

Canadian writers have been bemoaning the selection process, suggesting that certain freestyle disciplines will qualify more athletes at the expense of others. There’s also been a suggestion – in no way substantiated or proven – that Canadian skicross athletes have been holding back in recent events to let their teammates do well, rack up good finishes and help them qualify more skicross athletes.

And while an informal reading of the Canadian papers Wednesday seems to indicate that Del Bosco is good to go for Vancouver based on his results to date, it’s not a stretch to say, one final top-10 or top-five finish would help Del Bosco fans sleep well at night.

The last event before team selection on Monday is Sunday in Lake Placid, N.Y.

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