January 27, 2006
CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy (AP by Andrew Dampf)-Defending overall champion Anja Paerson won a World Cup super-G race in a snowstorm Friday, with Americans Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Kildow finishing second and third.
Mancuso was second for her first World Cup podium finish, .034 seconds behind Paerson, who covered the Olympia delle Tofane course in 1 minute, 16.75 seconds. Kildow was 0.78 back, with Janica Kostelic fourth and still the leader in the overall World Cup standings.
There was poor visibility for the race, which started 2 1/2 hours late because of the storm.
Mancuso finally reached the podium after four fourth-place finishes the past two seasons. She won two bronze medals at last season's world championships.
``World championships and Olympics are more prestigious events, but I feel more confident having a podium on the World Cup,'' Mancuso said.
Paerson struggled to see through tears caused by the weather and the Swede was forced to rely largely on her intuition after only three gates to complete the course.
``I just trusted my skis and told myself, 'Don't worry about the snow, you're not going to see it anyway,''' Paerson said.
Austria's trio of speed experts _ Alexandra Meissnitzer, Renate Goetschl and Michaela Dorfmeister _ struggled.[pagebreak]Meissnitzer, who had her left knee examined following a fall in downhill training Tuesday, was seventh. Goetschl, who holds a record eight wins in Cortina, was eighth. Dorfmeister was 10th, her first non-podium finish in super-G this season, but still leads the discipline standings.
Several skiers crashed _ many of them on a tricky final jump _ and nine skiers did not finish.
It was Paerson's fifth win this season and her first in super-G since taking the gold medal at last season's world championships. It gave her wins in all four disciplines for the second consecutive season.
Kildow, who won two downhills earlier this season, has next month's Olympics as her main goal.
``World Cups are important because you have to ski well and gain confidence for the Olympics,'' Kildow said. ``You have to have other goals besides the Olympics because the Olympics is only one race.''
The Turin Games begin Feb. 10.
Copyright (c) 2006 The Associated Press