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    MCC members in action at Winter Olympics and Paralympics

    Feb 10, 2010

    The MCC will have two of its members competing at each of this week's Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Games to be held next month, both in Vancouver, Canada: Katya Crema, Dave Morris, Mitchell Gourley and James Millar.

    Katya and Dave will compete in Winter Olympics (February 13-26) while Mitchell and James will feature in the Winter Paralympics, officially known as the X Paralympic Winter Games, from March 12-21.

    Here's a snapshot of their careers so far:

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    Katya Crema - Freestyle Skiing (Ski Cross - Women)

    Winter Olympian and MCC member Katya CremaFormer alpine racer Katya Crema has a best placing of 23rd in World Cup events this season. When the 21-year-old architecture student is not training and racing on snow she refines her starts on a replica gate built by her grandfather at her Victorian home.

    Katya switched to ski cross in the 2007/08 season, lining up in her first World Cup event in January in Les Contamines, France.

    She contested three more events for the season, her best result an 11th place in Sierra Nevada, Spain, before injuring her ACL while training in Meiringen, Switzerland in March 2008. She finished the season in 24th place on the World Cup standings despite missing five of the year's nine races.

    The 21-year-old from Mt Buller rejoined the circuit in February 2009 in Voss, skiing in four World Cup events through the remainder of the season, and also representing Australia at the FIS Freestyle World Championships in Inawashiro in March, with her best result a 25th at the world titles.

    She qualified for a place on the Vancouver 2010 team by making five consecutive finals in the current season, culminating in a career-best 10th placing in Lake Placid in January.

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    Dave Morris - Freestyle Skiing (Aerials - Men)
    Story by AAP

    Winter Olympian and MCC member David MorrisBusy trying to keep up with his all-female teammates, busy trying to qualify for the Winter Olympics and too busy it seems to get the blood clot removed from his spine.

    Sustained "a few years ago" while practising triple somersaults training on a water ramp, Morris said he couldn't walk for an hour after landing bolt upright.

    An MRI scan later revealed the damage.

    "It's rather painful and it's still there because it will take a couple of months of recovery if I get it removed which I decided I don't have time for," the 25-year-old said.

    Given the last six years of his life have been lived in fast forward learning a new sport, you could probably excuse him for the flippancy.

    In 2004, gymnast Morris was first approached by former Australian world champion Kirstie Marshall to try the sport.  He started with one major thing on his side - the ability to ski.

    Marshall took him under her wing and it soon became evident that Morris had what was needed to be a success in the sport.

    When he eventually met with Australian team management, they too thought he had great potential and offered him the opportunity to train and travel with them even though it had been strictly a women's program.

    From scratch it took him three years before he started to compete in second tier Nor-Am Cup and FIS events and just another 10 months before he was on the podium.

    He was a modest 27th at his first World Cup at the start of 2009 but has gone on to make the 12-man final in the last three events.

    It's expected he'll become the first Australian men's Olympic freestyle aerialist since Jono Sweet, who gave the game away after a brutal landing saw him bomb out of the 1998 event in Nagano.

    A finals appearance in Vancouver is the realistic aim for the Melbourne-raised skier and he says he'll leave nothing at the top of the in-run if he gets there.

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    James Millar

    As the only cross-country skier on the Australian Winter Paralympic Team, James also competes in the
    biathlon event which combines skiing and shooting.

    At the 2006 Torino Winter Games, James finished 18th in the 7.5km biathlon, 20th in the 12.5km biathlon and 22nd, 25th and 24th in the CC short, medium and long distances. But he believes just finishing his first ever race at these Games was his greatest sporting moment as it was a huge achievement and weight off his shoulders.

    James, who was born without a right forearm, was introduced to skiing by his father and fell in love with it from a young age. In 2002 he represented his school at the Interschools National Competition and was
    selected to meet the coach of the Junior Australian Ski Team. He is thankful for the support of his family
    and friends and sees them as the people he admires the most.

    Ironically, James who follows winter around the world loves summer and loves nothing more than sitting on his veranda soaking up the sun. He loves going to the beach, sleeping in and making music and also enjoys hiking, mountain running and playing with his miniature train set.

    He has recently completed a degree in landscape architecture and believes breaking his back whilst backcountry alpine skiing in 2007 was the scariest thing to have ever happened to him.

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    Mitchell Gourley 

    Nickname: Spinach 
    Hometown: Portarlington 
    Current Residence: Geelong 
    Hobbies: Skiing, Cycling, Mountain Biking, Sport-Climbing, Bouldering. 
    Hero: Michael Milton, Cadel Evans, Bode Miller 
    Personal Ambition: Perform to the best of my abilities at every possible opportunity. 
    Positions/Disciplines: Alpine Skiing - Downhill, Super G, Giant Slalom, Slalom 
    Training Venue Domestic: Thredbo, Perisher Blue, Mt Buller.
    International: North America, Europe, Asia, NZ. 
          
    Career Highlights: 
    2009 World Cup: Whistler, Canada - Giant Slalom: 7th World Cup: La Molina, Spain - Giant Slalom: 12th
    2008 Australian Nationals: Thredbo, NSW - Giant Slalom: 1st 
    Achieving top 20 International Ranking in GS and SG, highest junior. 
    World Cup: Le Queyras, France - Giant Slalom: 14th 
    World Cup: Abtenau, Austria - Super G: 10th
    2006 Selection to Australian Paralympic Alpine Ski Team at 15