St. Anton, Austria Jan. 30, 2001(AP)--Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) opened the men's schedule at the 2001 World Championships Tuesday by winning the super G by .08 over Austrian Stephan Eberharter with Hermann Maier third.
ESPN2 will broadcast coverage of the race at 5:30 p.m. EST today with a repeat at midnight EST on ESPN.
Rahlves, skiing 11th, was timed in 1:21.46 with 1:21.54 for Eberharter. Maier finished in 1:21.69 with Norwegian Lasse Kjus fourth (1:21.73) and Didier Cuche of Switzerland fifth (1:21.95). Maier and Kjus tied for SG gold at Vail '99, the last alpine championships while Eberharter was the '91 super G champion in another championships held in Austria (Saalbach).
In collecting the first World Championships gold medal by a U.S. man since Steve Mahre won the giant slalom - also in Austria (Schladming) in 1982, the 27-year-old Rahlves led from top to bottom. It also is the first World Championships super G medal won by an American, male or female (although Diann Roffe-Steinrotter won the Olympic SG gold medal in '94, a month before she retired).
"I skied really well up top, but I made a mistake in the middle," he said, holding tightly to his gold-medal, Atomic skis, "but I kept fighting. I didn't panic...I kept puttin' 'em down the hill. I was aggressive...
"We've trained hard. We have a great organization - the coaches, the service techs, the support - and this is the reward for everything we've been doing," Rahlves said.
He didn't feel good when he got up, the Green Mountain Valley School (Vt.) grad said, "but I got things rolling in the start and I'm rolling now."
The key thing, he told reporters in the finish, "was to keep pushing, keep fighting...and I had to let my skis run..."
As he did last March when he took some time at home in the Lake Tahoe area and relaxed with friends, and learned to enjoy skiing again - and then won back-to-back World Cup downhills in Norway, Rahlves - bummed about his slow start on this season's World Cup schedule - took a break over the holidays with friends. "I decided to take a fresh start," he said.
His re-start led to a podium in the Hahnenkamm downhill two weeks ago...and a gold medal Tuesday. "This is a big victory for me...well, for anybody, it's big," he said.
Casey Puckett (Aspen, CO) was 31st in 1:24.98 while Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) and Chad Fleischer (Vail, CO) were among the 11 skiers who were DNFs.
2001 WORLD ALPINE SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
St. Anton, AUT - Jan. 30
Men's Super G
1. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, Calif., 1:21.46 2. Stephan Eberharter, Austria, 1:21.54 3. Hermann Maier, Austria, 1:21.69 4. Lasse Kjus, Norway, 1:21.73 5. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 1:21.95 - 31. Casey Puckett, Aspen, Colo., 1:24.98 - Did not finish: Chad Fleischer, Vail, Colo., and Bode Miller, Franconia, N.H.
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