January 22, 2006
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP by Erica Bulman)—In a World Cup race that renewed concerns about course safety, overall leader Janica Kostelic of Croatia won a super-combi and American Lindsey Kildow finished third.
Michaela Dorfmeister nearly skied into a course worker Sunday while going 50 mph. A day earlier, Norway's Anne Marie Mueller crashed into an Italian trainer during a downhill.
"I had the right reaction, Dorfmeister said. "If I had another reaction maybe I would have crashed with him and someone would have died maybe.
Kostelic, second after the morning downhill, had the fastest slalom leg to win the season's first super-combi in a combined time of 2 minutes, 15.74 seconds.
"During my downhill there was a lot of wind on top and the bottom I was not skiing real well, Kostelic said. "The slalom was really tricky but Anja did her mistake and lost lots of time, and I guess I was lucky.
Reigning overall World Cup champion Anja Paerson of Sweden, the leader after the downhill, settled for second in 2:16.19 while Kildow of the United States was third in 2:17.48.
"Slalom skiing is going really well so it made up for my downhill. I have a lot of confidence in my slalom, Kildow said. "I trust my skis, trust myself and it's showing in my races. I skied aggressive in the slalom, taking chances and I was really fast so I'm happy about today.
Paerson was hurt by a mistake in the slalom.
"I got my boot on the snow and touched down with my hand and butt, came up again but lost all the speed, she said. "I guess I should just be happy I made it down in second.
Dorfmeister finished 17th after narrowly avoiding a collision in the downhill leg with the course worker, who was holding a shovel. The experienced 32-year-old Austrian lifted her right ski and swerved closer to the gate to avoid him.[pagebreak]Paerson covered her mouth with her hands as she watched Dorfmeister's run on the jumbo screen in the leader's box.
"This must never happen again, said Renate Goetschl, Dorfmeister's teammate. "It's complete madness.
International Ski Federation rules allow skiers to rerun a race or leg if they are distracted by officials, jury members or course workers during their run. But they must stop immediately.
The director of the women's World Cup said the course worker should not be punished.
"It would be wrong to put the blame on one person, Atle Skaardal said. "He was working with the best intentions.
Skaardal said the organizing committee needs to improve its routine, but didn't think it would be sanctioned, either. He added that the committee will apologize to Dorfmeister.
In 2001, France's Regine Cavagnoud died from head injuries after slamming into German coach Markus Anwander during training on Austria's Pitztal glacier. At the 1996 world championships, downhiller Tatiana Lebedeva and an American ski official each broke legs during a crash.
"My first reaction was how well she (Dorfmeister) reacted, said Sarah Lewis, general-secretary of the international ski federation. "Afterward, you think about what has happened before, where the consequences were so serious. This time, fortunately, it wasn't.
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press