Arttu Pihlainen becomes first competitor from Finland to be crowned
champion of Red Bull Crashed Ice, as witnessed by 85,000 fans in Old
QUEBEC CITY, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - The ice was slick, the skates were sharp and
the fans in abundance as 64 speed daredevils raced through the streets of Old
Quebec vying for the fastest skater bragging rights. In the end, 26 year-old,
Arttu Pihlainen from Jyvaskyla, Finland outpaced the pack to take the title of
Red Bull Crashed Ice champion despite battling a shoulder injury suffered in
an earlier heat.
"Before the race I spoke to the rest of the Fins and past champion,
Jasper Felder and we promised that we would bring the Crashed Ice trophy back
to Scandinavia," said Pihlainen. "Perhaps we all did so well because we felt
so at home in Quebec - the course, city and vibe was amazing."
A combination of hockey, boardercross, and downhill skiing, Red Bull
Crashed Ice presents a new playing field for amateur and semi-pro hockey
players around the world. Instead of a flat-surface rink, racers storm down a
535m ice-track that not only winds its way through an urban environment, but
delivers a series of hairpin turns, 45 degree vertical drops, and a liberal
dose of jumps, whoops, and ice stairs. Red Bull Crashed Ice is arguably the
fastest sport on skates, and is dictated by one simple rule: first to the
Following Pihlainen were second place, Louis-Philippe Dumoulin from
Blainville, Quebec, third place Sebastien Morissette from Donnacona, Quebec
and fourth place Brandon Maksymyk from Calgary, Alberta. The final four took
home $5000, $3000, $1500 and $500 respectively.
Tough day on the track
It was anyone's race tonight as six-time champion Jasper Felder from
Stockholm, Sweden and two-time champion Kevin Olson of Lethbridge, Alberta
were eliminated in the third and second round respectively. It was the same
two-foot drop that took out both Felder and Olson as both were leading their
heat approaching the finish.
Set to Old Quebec's stunning landscape this one-of-a-kind 535m urban ice
track featured hairpin turns, big-air jumps and vertical drops usually
reserved for draw bridges. With a start at the Château Frontenac skaters
immediately stormed downhill along rue du Fort reaching speeds of over
50 km/hr before they hit a steep right turn in front of Hôtel de la Poste
Flying down Côte de la Montagne and directly under Porte Prescott,
skaters encountered the steepest part of the track making a sharp left at the
infamous Escalier Casse-Cou, otherwise known as "Breakneck Stairway". Before
hitting the bottom of the hill, skaters were faced with the course's most
intimidating jumps followed by a sprint down Place Royale.
With glory and the Saint Lawrence again in sight, the skaters navigated
down the stairs of rue de la Place and hit the finish on Place de Paris. Only
the skilled skaters made their way back to the top for another go until one
racer was crowned King of the Crashed Ice course.
Construction of this discipline-twisting course took over a three-week
period. Approximately 100 pairs of Quebéc's strongest hands were on deck as
60 cases (4ft x 4ft x 4ft, 1700 pounds each) of crashed ice was spread across
the streets of Old Québec. Along with physical might, a cooling system was
used to ensure the sleek and smooth ice surface which helped produce the right
temperature. Polymer boards were used to keep competitors on the track and
fans from harm's way. But, who's kidding whom, they also served as the rhythm
board for the thousands of fans cheering the next heat of racers.
Canada's fastest and most skilled came from coast-to-coast after
successfully demonstrating their speed at one of 11 qualifier events held in
December. They were joined by a select few invited International athletes.
Over 100 athletes competed in a qualifying round on Friday night where the top
64 were identified setting the stage for an exciting final.
To determine a champion, consecutive heats of four skaters in a double
elimination bracket narrowed the field down from the top 64 qualifiers to a
final four. With the last four at the start line it was fastest to the bottom
that was crowned Red Bull Crashed Ice champion.
It Ain't Over 'Til Three Days Grace Sings
The Red Bull Crashed Ice celebrations culminated with a free open air
concert featuring Canada's own, Three Days Grace. The band played hit songs to
a packed-house at Parc de la Francophonie (Pigeonnier).
About Red Bull Crashed Ice
Since Quebec produces some of the world's best hockey players, its
capital city is a fitting return location for Red Bull Crashed Ice. Already,
hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have witnessed the
action-packed new sport of ice-cross downhill in cities with rich hockey
roots, including its debut in Stockholm, Sweden (2000), Klagenfurt, Austria
(2001), Duluth, Minnesota, USA (2003, 2004), Moscow, Russia (2004), Prague,
Czech Republic (2005), Helsinki, Finland (2007), along with its exciting third
annual Canadian showing tonight in Québec City.
This amazing event is possible thanks to many partners who contributed
financially and in services, such as Québec City Tourism, the Bureau de la
Capitale Nationale, Société du 400e anniversaire de Québec and the City of
Québec. Red Bull Crashed Ice extends special thanks to the SODEQ, to the
Merchants Associations of Place-Royale, the Old Port and Petit-Champlain
districts, and to the residents.
For more detailed event information or to view and download images and
video, please go to ftp://ftp.redbullcrashedice.ca/.
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A video-news-release will be available via satellite downlink:
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 (Refeed)
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