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Canadian skier Barr gets surprise last-minute call to Olympics

Fourth-Place Medal

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From the backup's backup to standout, Davey Barr personifies how anything can happen in ski cross.

As late as Saturday, the Canadian was supposed to be home in Brackenbale, B.C., watching his buddies compete in Sunday's men's ski cross. Instead, two Canadian injuries later, Barr finished sixth after being summoned to Vancouver at what a coach called "the 13th hour."

He had never skied the Cypress Mountain course. Yet somehow, with no time to gameplan, he made it through qualifying before finally bowing out in the semifinal.

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"Sixth at the Olympics, that's not all that bad," said Barr, who finished third at last year's World Championships. "I would have liked to make the finals, but ... that's the sport. [I'm happy] for the most part."

Barr has already been called the instant Olympian. The backup's backup. The guy with no suit. Maybe it was such a whirlwind that he didn't have enough time to get nervous.

"It took me a few runs this morning to sort of get a feel for the course. Everybody else had like two days of training on it. I managed to figure it out a bit," a smiling Barr told reporters after the race.

Calling up someone for an Olympic event involves more than, say, a MLB or NHL team summoning someone from their minor-league affiliate.

Barr’s last-minute invite to the Olympics team meant he had to do more than just learn the course. A coach had to prepare a uniform for him while officials scrambled to get him a room in the Olympic athletes’ village in Vancouver.

You might ask, how did a guy who was third in the world not get a spot on the Canadian team? Well, when Canada selected its 18-member freestyle team in January, it used "a complex scoring system" that left the 32-year-old Barr in don't-call-us, we'll-call-you territory. But in a space of 24 hours, Dave Duncan broke his collarbone and the first option off the taxi squad, Brady Lehman, aggravated an injury. So Barr got the call.

Barr gave an unintentionally revealing quote about teammate Chris Del Bosco, who finished a disappointing fourth after a late wipeout.

"[Del Bosco leaves] it to the last minute and try to make it all happen," Barr said. "More often than not, he actually does it."

Leave it to the last minute and pull it off? Barr could have been describing himself.

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