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Anja Paerson wins world championship super G; Julia Mancuso third

Anja Paerson wins world championship super G; Julia Mancuso thirdAnja Paerson from Sweden is the new World Champion in super G. She came through with the win in the first women’s event of the 2005 World Championships at Santa Caterina, Italy on Jan. 30. In a race full of surprises, Paerson mastered the high-speed technical Deborah Compagnoni course with a time of 1.17.64 to push Italian fan-favorite Lucia Recchia into second and American Julia Mancuso to third.

Running with bib 22, Paerson set the fastest time, but didn’t expect it to hold up under the onslaught of the next eight top-ranked super G racers waiting at the start. But one by one, they faltered. Her victory was only assured when the World Cup super G leader, Renate Goetschl from Austria skidded wide on the same hard right turn at the top, that had troubled so many of the final racers.

At the beginning of the season, Paerson had set a goal of winning a World Championship medal in super G. ‘Coming here I thought I had maybe a chance for third place, but never to win the race’ said Paerson. ‘It was not even in my mind when I came here today.’

Paerson surmised that because the three medalists were not among the favorites, this worked to their benefit. ‘Maybe we won because we didn’t have the pressure on us’ said Paerson, who led at every interval. ‘We could relax more than the other ones.’

It was a great day for the enthusiastic Italian fans. Recchia claimed the silver and her teammates, 18 year-old Nadia Fanchini, and veteran Isolde Kostner finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Despite World Cup super G results of second and fifth earlier this season, Recchia was still surprised by her good fortune. ‘Really, I didn’t expect this result’ said Recchia. ‘The medal for me is amazing and is wonderful that I won it right here in Italy.’ Regarding the failure of the top racers to push her off the podium, Recchia said, ‘Of course at a World Championship race, you need a bit of luck.’

Of the final eight top-seeded racers to tackle the course, only American Lindsey Kildow managed a top 10 result, placing a disappointing ninth. In tears at the finish, Kildow said, ‘I am so disappointed. I really didn’t expect to be so slow. I don’t know how to explain it.’ Kildow, who will also be racing in all the remaining races with the exception of slalom, added, ‘It’s better to look ahead; there are still more races ahead where I hope to do well.’

Kildow might have been the U.S. racer the media expected to win a medal, but with so much of the attention on Kildow, Mancuso was able to sneak under the media radar. ‘ I wasn’t expecting a lot coming in here and I think that helped a lot to not have expectations’ Mancuso said at the post-race press conference.

Mancuso’s run wasn’t perfect and included a mistake on the fourth gate on the course, the same spot that tripped up pre-race favorites; Hilde Gerg from Germany, Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister, and Goetschl. ‘Coming off the top I thought the snow would be slower and I could run it more direct’ said Mancuso. ‘I got pulled low in the first double (delay gate) and then I just let it go.’

Even before the start of the race, Mancuso’s day was falling into place. ‘Today I was really relaxed, probably the most relaxed I’ve been’ said Mancuso. ‘I went back to the hotel after inspection and relaxed and got up to the start about 15 minutes before I went. I was warm, my boots felt good – it was perfect.’

Mancuso carried her speed off the upper steeps and through the serpentine series of turns at the bottom to take over the lead. Recchia bumped her to second, to the delight of her frenzied fan club, but they were quickly silenced by the very next racer – Paerson. The trio then watched in amazement as the following eight racers either skied slowly or self-destructed on the fourth turn on the course.

American Caroline Lalive offered an explanation, ‘They’re having trouble up there, because you want to just charge and this is a part of the course you can’t run too straight’ said Lalive who made the same mistake, but still finished 12th. ‘The whole point of super G is that you have to risk a little and some of the top girls are mistaken on where you can risk and where you have to be a little careful.’

With Kirsten Clark in 10th, the U.S. women’s team put all four of its racers in the top 12. U.S. women’s coach Patrick Riml called the performance of his team, ‘not shabby at all. It’s always good to get a medal…and the girls were ready.’

World Ski Championships

Women’s Super G
Santa Caterina, Italy
Jan. 30, 2005

1. Anja Paerson, SWE 1:17.64
2. Lucia Recchia, ITA 1:18.09
3. Julia Mancuso, USA 1:18.40
4. Nadia Fanchini, ITA 1:18.43
5. Isolde Kostner, ITA 1:18.54
6. Tina Maze, SLO 1:18.67
7. Andrea Fischbacher, AUT 1:18.73
8. Nadia Styger, SUI 1:18.79
9. Lindsey Kildow, USA 1:18.81
10. Kirsten Clark, USA 1:18.94
11. Silvia Berger, AUT 1:19.00
12. Caroline Lalive, USA 1:19.03
13. Hilde Gerg, GER 1:19.07
14. Karen Putzer, ITA 1:19.11
15. Carolina Ruiz Castillo, SPA 1:19.15
16. Sylvaine Berthod, SUI 1:19.20
17. Ingrid Jacquemod, FRA 1:19.29
18. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 1:19.33
19. Janette Hargin, SWE 1:19.51
20. Magda Mattel, FRA 1:19.53
21. Emily Brydon, CAN 1:19.62
22. Chimene Alcott, GBR 1:19.88
23. Renate Goetschl, AUT 1:19.93
24. Petra Haltmayr, GER 1:20.17
25. Kelly Vanderbeek, CAN 1:20.35
26. Genevieve Simard, CAN 1:20.61
27. Lucie Hrstkova, CZE 1:20.94
28. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, SWE 1:21.02
29. Mojca Suhadolc, SLO 1:21.20
30. Sarah Schaedler, LIE 1:21.99
other North Americans:
DNF: Allison Forsyth, CAN

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Women’s Super G, Santa Caterina, Italy, Jan. 30, 2005 Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2 Recchia, Volkl/Lange/Look
3 Mancuso, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4 Fanchini, Dynastar/Lange/Look
5 Kostner, Fischer/Lange/Tyrolia
6 Maze, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Fischbacher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Styger, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
9 Kildow, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Clark, Fischer/Salomon/Marker

Women’s Super G, Santa Caterina, Italy, Jan. 30, 2005. … It is the first women’s race (second race) of the 2005 World Ski Championships. … It is the 20th super G world title to be held. … Winning margin is .45. … The top five skiers are within the same second.

It is the third World Championship and fourth championship medal for Anja Paerson. … It is the first Swedish SG gold medal. … She also won gold in the 2001 slalom and 2003 GS. … She was third in the 2001 GS.

It is the first World Championship medal for Lucia Recchia. … Her previous best has been eighth in dh at St Anton. … He career best World Cup result is second, in sg, at Altenmarkt earlier this season.

It is the first World Championship medal for Julia Mancuso. … Her previous best had been seventh in combined at St Moritz. … She is the 28th American to win a World Championship medal. … It is the 40th U.S. medal. … seventh in super G. … and second of these championships. … both in super G. … It is her best result of the season. … She was fourth at the same site in the 1/8 GS.

It is the first World Championship race for Lindsey Kildow. … It is the tenth for Kirsten Clark. … the 12th for Caroline Lalive. … It is the eighth title race for Emily Brydon. … The fourth for Kelly Vanderbeek. … and fifth for Genevieve Simard.

Not a good day for older skiers as the four oldest in the competition, Martina Ertl, Carole Montillet-Carles, Alexandra Meissnitzer and MIchaela Dorfmeister all fail to finish. … By of contrast, Nadia Fanchini, in fourth, was the second youngest in the competition at 18.

What do you think?

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