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Previewing the unpredictable women's ski cross

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Canada’s Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic champion, is returning from injury. Just four months ago, she underwent surgery on her ACL and MCL, which she ruptured in a crash in October. For obvious reasons, Thompson has not raced a lot this season, leaving many to wonder if she’s back to full health. On Tuesday, Thompson laid to rest some of those questions when she tied Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund for the fastest time in training.

Her biggest competitor for gold is Naeslaund. Naeslund has a streak of 13-straight podiums dating back to last season. She already has five wins for the 2017-18 season, ensuring she will win the ski cross crystal globe with only three races left. She will become the first ski cross racer to take the freestyle overall globe in almost ten years.

Three-time Olympian Fanny Smith will be looking to find the podium after reaching the small finals in Vancouver and Sochi. Smith is just 25 years old but has been racing for ten years at the World Cup level.

French duo Marielle Berger Sabbatel and Alizee Baron are also potential medal contenders. Berger Sabbatel has been on the podium in three of the last four ski cross competitions this season. She currently is ranked fifth on the World Cup rankings. Baron has had some of the fastest times throughout training.

The Sochi silver medalist, Kelsey Serwa, is also returning as a potential medal threat. Austrian Andrea Limbacher is considered a potential medal threat as well. She won the test event in PyeongChang last year.

There are no American women competing in the event.

In the unpredictable sport of ski cross, the only thing predictable is that come race day, anything can happen, and like the men’s ski cross saw, anyone can find themselves on the podium.

The women’s ski cross finals will be held Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. ET.

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