Julia Mancuso picks up second world championship medal as Paerson wins GSSweden’s Anja Paerson prevailed in the tightly contested World Championship giant slalom race. Paerson took a .32-second lead into the second run and made it hold up to second-run challenges from Finland’s Tanja Poutiainen and Julia Mancuso from the U.S. Team.
Paerson knew she was in the driver’s season after the first run. ‘When I saw the girls come in behind me on the first run, I knew I had a good chance to win the race’ said Paerson, after posting a winning first run time of 1.07.07.
Paerson, well familiar with what it takes to seal the deal, explained her second run strategy. ‘I just relaxed and did what I knew I could do and ski smoothly. And it worked out.’
Paerson’s win was her fourth World Championship title, which ties Pernilla Wiberg for the most titles by a Swede. In her eight Championship races, Paerson has finished no worse that seventh, and has four wins, a second and a third to her credit.
Few were surprised to see Poutiainen in the mix for the giant slalom title. After having only won once in her World Cup career prior to this season, the 24-year-old Poutiainen has suddenly come to life this season. She is the current World Cup leader in GS; she has already won the slalom title; and she’s been on the World Cup podium nine times this season in the technical events.
But winning never grows old for Poutiainen, especially considering that since her first Championships in 1997, she’s has been seeking to join her teammate Kalle Palander as the only Finn to win a World Championship title in alpine skiing.
‘Yah, it’s such a great feeling (to be the first woman to win a World Championship medal for Finland)’ said Poutiainen. ‘I’ve been in many World Championships and never got a medal this is crazy.’
On the other hand, Mancuso had only raced in one Championship event, the combined in 2003, and she already has two bronze medals. Sitting in seventh place after the first run, Mancuso knew she had to make a few adjustments.
‘The first run I kept making mistakes left and right. I was a little crazy’ said Mancuso. But still, she was not that far behind.
‘I was actually thinking that this was the closest I’ve ever been to a leader after the first run’ said Mancuso. ‘I knew that anything was possible.’ She knew this from first hand experience after her surprise bronze medal run in super G earlier in the championships. And it became instrumental in setting her up for another run at the podium.
‘I received a course report from Sarah (Schleper 13th in the race)) who said that the course was sweet, like a dream’ said Mancuso. ‘I wasn’t thinking about the medals, I was thinking about going for the best run I could make.’
Big event performers need a variety of physical and mental attributes, and Mancuso seems to have an abundance of them. ‘She is one of the most talented skiers in the world’ said head women’s coach Patrick Riml of Mancuso, who holds the record for the most World Junior Championship medals.
Bill Marolt, CEO of USSA agreed. ‘Julia is a really talented kid’ said Marolt. ‘It’s just a matter of maturity. She’s figuring out that she wants to be a really good international ski racer.’
And then there are those mental gifts that can’t be taught, such as keeping cool under pressure. ‘I don’t really worry about the press putting all the pressure on her (Kildow) and forgetting about me. I don’t care’ said Mancuso. ‘I knew I was skiing well and didn’t feel any pressure, I guess I just like big races. As I was saying earlier, when the pressure is on everyone else, it seems to be off me.’
Women’s Giant Slalom
Santa Caterina, Italy
Feb. 8, 2005
1. Anja Paerson, SWE 2:13.63
2. Tanja Poutiainen, FIN 2:13.82
3. Julia Mancuso, USA 2:14.27
4. Martina Ertl, GER 2:14.31
5. Nicole Hosp, AUT 2:14.38
6. Karen Putzer, ITA 2:14.84
7. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT 2:15.02
8. Genevieve Simard, CAN 2:15.11
9. Marisa Rienda Contreras, SPA 2:15.19
10. Sarka Zahrobska, CZE 2:15.66
11. Ingrid Jacquemod, FRA 2:15.70
12. Anna Ottosson, SWE 2:15.92
13. Sarah Schleper, USA 2:16.12
14. Audrey Peltier, FRA 2:16.48
14. Marlies Schild, AUT 2:16.48
16. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, SWE 2:16.59
17. Annemarie Gerg, GER 2:16.86
18. Marlies Oester, SUI 2:16.99
19. Gail Kelly, CAN 2:16.97
20. Ana Jelusic, CRO 2:17.02
21. Carolina Ruiz Castillo, SPA 2:17.04
22. Nicole Gius, ITA 2:17.23
23. Kristina Koznick, USA 2:17.29
24. Ana Drev, SLO 2:17.77
25. Lucie Hrstkova, CZE 2:18.02
26. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 2:18.04
27. Dagmara Krzyzynska, POL 2:18.08
28. Lisa Bremseth, NOR 2:18.80
29. Nika Fleiss, CRO 2:19.51
30. Noriyo Hiroi, JPN 2:19.85
other North Americans:
DNF 1st: Lindsey Kildow, USA.
DNF 2nd: Allison Forsyth, Brigitte Acton, CAN.
By Hank McKee
World Championship women’s GS, Santa Caterina, Feb. 8,
1 Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2 Poutiainen, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
3 Mancuso, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4 Ertl, Rossignol/Nordica/Rossignol
5 Hosp, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
6 Putzer, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
7 Goergl, Blizzard/Lange/Marker
8 Simard, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Rienda Contreras, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol 10 Zahrobska, Head/Head/Tyrolia FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, Santa Caterina, Italy, Feb. 8, 2005. … It is the seventh race of 10 scheduled for the World Championships. … The fourth of five women’s races. … Winning margin is less than two tenths of a second. … Top five finishers within the same second.
It is the fourth world championship for Anja Paerson.
… second in GS. … second of these championships.
… In eight World title races she has finished no worse than 7th and been top 4 seven times with four wins, a second and a third. … She matches Pernilla Wiberg for most World Championship wins by a Swede.
… It is her fourth win and ninth podium of the season.
It is the first World Championship medal for Tanja Poutiainen. … She has competed in World Championship events since 1997. … It is the second Finnish alpine World Championship medal, the other a gold in SL from Kalle Palander at Vail ’99. … It is her 10th podium of the season.
It is the second World Championship medal for Julia Mancuso. … and second of these championships following a bronze in SG 1/30. … Those results are her only two podiums of the season. … It is the 47th U.S. World Championship medal.
It is the second best World Championship result for Genevieve Simard. … She was 4th in SG at St Moritz 2/3/03. … Her only better result this season was 2nd in the GS at Santa Caterina exactly a month ago 1/8.
… It is the seventh best Canadian GS result at Worlds all time. … It is the first result at a World Championships for Sarah Schleper. … She has 7 better World Cup results this season alone. … It is the second World Championship result for Gail Kelly. …
She was 31st in SG at Vail ’99. … It is her fifth visit to a top 20 this season. … All in GS. … It is the third best GS result at Worlds for Kristina Koznick, topped by 12th at St Moritz ’03.
Austria has six medals (1g, 1s,4b); Croatia two (2g); Finland one (s); Italy two (2s); Sweden three (2g,1s); USA five (2g, 1s, 2 b).