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Janica Kostelic wins world championship downhill; Kildow fourth

Janica Kostelic wins world championship downhill; Kildow fourthJanica Kostelic from Croatia proved that her win in the downhill portion of the combined event was no fluke, as she bested the best downhill skiers in the world to win her second title at the 2005 World Championships.

Kostelic was only sixth fastest at the second interval on the Deborah Compagnoni course, but poured on the speed in the bottom turns to cross the line with a time of 1.39.90.

Italian fan-favorite Elana Fanchini earned a surprise silver medal, and the last racer on course, pre-race favorite Renate Goetschl from Austria, snatched the bronze from the disappointed American, Lindsey Kildow.

Kostelic, who was chastised for downplaying the importance of the World Championship in 2003, was ecstatic about her seventh title in a major championship event. ‘I’m in seventh heaven; I can’t believe it’ said Kostelic after her run.

At the post-race press conference she added, ‘This is really special because it is something I didn’t think would happen this soon. I haven’t been doing downhill for two years (prior to this season) and slalom was my main goal this season.’

The unknown 19 year-old, Italian B-Team skier, Fanchini had set the fastest time from the 8th starting position and no one was coming close. Even Kostelic thought she might have been too far in front to reel in. ‘When I saw Fanchini’s time I thought no one would be able to beat her’ said Kostelic. ‘She had an amazing run.’

Fanchini and her sister, Nadia, who finished fourth in the World Championship super G a few days earlier, had been dominating the international junior circuits, but a series of injuries put Elana on the sidelines for three of the past four years. In this her first year back in competition, she had only raced in three previous World Cups with a best result of 17th.

‘I am very happy; it is an incredible feeling’ said Fanchini, who before the start had told her friends that she was going for the win. ‘No, I can not really say that I never expected a day like today.’

The top-ranked skier in the field, Goetschl was not disappointed to finish behind the inexperienced Fanchini. ‘I am very happy with third place today’ said Goetschl, the only pre-race favorite to land on the podium. ‘It was a week for me where everything not really goes well’ said Goetschl. ‘But today was a new day for me I found my confidence…I am happy with that.’

Goetschl’s happiness came at the expense of American Lindsey Kildow, who finished fourth for the second straight race by an agonizing .23 seconds. When Goetschl flashed across the finish with the third fastest time, Kildow was inconsolable.

Struggling to speak with reporters, Kildow said, ‘Tears can only speak for me. It’s the worst feeling ever fourth place is like so bad. I gave it 100%, I made a little mistake on the bottom, but I don’t really know where I lost all my time.’

Patrick Riml, U.S. women’s head coach, said, ‘Fourth is a good result, but at World Championships, it sucks. Lindsey skied well on the top, but she made a little mistake at the bottom…that cost her the medal. At the World Championships you can’t afford to make a mistake. Really, it’s that simple.’

The only other U.S. team member to finish the race was Jonna Mendes, who was happy with 12th after making the team via a training-run shoot-out.

‘I went out there and charged as hard as I could, I kept my hands forward, and I stayed as aerodynamic as possible’ said Mendes. ‘I finished 12th but this is my best result all year, and I can’t be bummed about it.’

Caroline Lalive fell at the top of the course, and Kirsten Clark was unable to race due to a bout of the flu.

World Ski Championships

Women’s Downhill
Santa Caterina, Italy
Feb. 6, 2005

1. Janica Kostelic, CRO 1:39.90
2. Elena Fanchini, ITA 1:40.16
3. Renate Goetschl, AUT 1:40.29
4. Lindsey Kildow, USA 1:40.52
5. Ingrid Jacqemod, FRA 1:40.86
6. Jessia Lindell-Vikarby, SWE 1:40.98
7. Anja Paerson, SWE 1:41.07
8. Hilde Gerg, GER 1:41.32
9. Nadia Styger, SUI 1:41.37
10. Isolde Kostner, ITA 1:41.58
11. Emily Brydon, CAN 1:41.59
12. Jonna Mendes, USA 1:41.79
13. Sylvaine Berthod, SUI 1:41.96
14. Daniela Ceccarelli, ITA 1:42.09
15. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 1:42.35
16. Magda Mattel, FRA 1:42.39
17. Julie Duvillard, FRA 1:42.46
18. Petra Haltmayr, GER 1:42.47
19. Janette Hargin, SWE 1:42.50
19. Chimene Alcott, GBR 1:42.50
21. Carole Montillet-Carles, FRA 1:42.70
22. Alexandra Meissnitzer, AUT 1:43.12
23. Kelly Vanderbeek, CAN 1:43.23
24. Urska Rabic, SLO 1:43.43
25. Cathrine Meisingset, NOR 1:44.79
other North Americans:
DNS: Kirsten Clark, USA.
DNF: Caroline Lalive, USA.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Women’s Downhill, Santa Caterina, Feb 6, 2005
Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2 Fanchini, Dynastar/Lange/Look
3 Goetschl, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4 Kildow, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5 Jacquemod, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Lindell-Vikarby, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8 Gerg, Volkl/Lange/Marker
9 Styger, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Kostner, Fischer/Lange/Tyrolia

FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, Women’s Downhill, Feb. 6, 2005. … It is the sixth race, third women’s event, of the 2005 World Championships. … Winning margin .26. … top five skiers within the same second.

It is the fourth World Championship for Janica Kostelic. … Second in these championships. … She has also won gold medals in combined (’03 & ’05) and slalom (’03). … Her third win of the season. … Counting the 2002 Olympics Kostelic has recorded seven gold and one silver medals in the last three title events.

It is the first World Championship medal for Elena Fanchini. … She has just two World Cup results. … both 17th place finishes. … both at Santa Caterina 1/6 and 1/7 of this season. … It is the second silver medal for Italy in these championships from a woman without a World Cup win.

It is the sixth World Championship medal for Renate Goetschl and first of these championships. … She won the ’99 DH at Vail and the ’97 combined at Sestriere. … Also owns silver medals from Vail super-G and combined and the ’01 DH at St Anton. … This is her first bronze medal. … It is the 48th World Championship medal for Austria in DH.

It is a second straight fourth place result for Lindsey Kildow. … Emily Brydon matches her second best World Championship result of 10. … It is the ninth World Championship result for Jonna Mendes. … the fifth for Kelly Vanderbeek. … Kirsten Clark did not start. … It is the 14th time Caroline Lalive has failed to finish a World Championship or Olympic race.

Austria has six medals (1g, 1s,4b); Croatia two (2g); Italy three (2s,1b); Norway 1s; Sweden two (1g,1s); and the U.S. four (2g,1s,1b).

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