Jan Hudec will look to represent Canada in the speed disciplines at the Olympics for the second time in his career. Hudec, who fled his Czech homeland with his parents as a child before eventually settling in Alberta, had a promising start to his career but that potential was derailed by a series of devastating injuries. He announced his return to promise in 2012 when he won the World Cup downhill in Chamonix, France.
- 2011: National Championships - Gold (giant slalom)
- 2010: Olympics – 23rd (super-G), 25th (downhill)
- 2007: World Championships – Silver (downhill)
Things to know:
1. Hudec was born in Sumperk, Czechoslovakia. When he was an infant, the family secretly fled from communist oppression at home through Italy and settled in Germany. His mother, Vladi, was a cross-country skier and his father, Jan Sr., was an Alpine skier. Every weekend, they would pack into a Volkswagen and drive to Austria to ski. When the family arrived in Canada in 1986, Jan Sr. got a job as a ski coach in Red Deer.
2. Hudec made a splash at the 2007 World Championships in Are, Sweden, where he won silver in the downhill behind Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal. While training for a 2008 downhill in Switzerland, he suffered a season-ending knee injury. He returned in 2009, finishing eighth in the Lauberhorn downhill in Wengen, but suffered another injury at the World Championships in Val d’Isere. Two more injury-plagued season ensued, but in 2012 Hudec won a World Cup downhill in Chamonix and finished second in the super-G in Crans-Montana, his first podium trip in the event.
3. Hudec received the nickname Panda from a teammate who said that he was “round and furry like a panda,” and that while he seems slow and nice, when it’s time to fight he, “brings his A game.”