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Kirsten Clark Talks About Medal Day

Kirsten Clark Talks About Medal Day

News
By Jim Roemer
posted: 01/01/2000

Thought of the day?
Not only to be on the podium but to have a teammate up there as well to share the moment is awesome.

I'm definitely excited and Jonna is too. It's her first podium finish and to do it at World Championships, I know she is ecstatic as well. I know for myself, coming in to these races I knew that I've had a really great start to the season. Both my podiums have been in downhill this season but I've also been really close in super G and knew I was capable of doing really well in super G. It was a goal of mine to have a medal not only in super G but also in downhill.

How many times have you raced at St. Moritz?
We've raced here a couple of times. Last year was the big year to race here as they changed the course the last three years and last year's was when they determined that would be the World Championships hill. So I guess just one time.

I was third here last year and that gave me some confidence going in to today's race...knowing I've done it before and I could do it again.

Can you take us through your run? We know it's above tree line but what kind of course, hill, terrain is it?
It is all above tree line so there's definitely not a lot of references outside of the course to key on. It is definitely more of a technical course as opposed to a gliders course. There is quite a bit of terrain although there is not as much terrain as last year because of the amount of snowfall they've had this year. They've had so much here that it dropped all the terrain a little bit. There are still some good rolls in there and definitely a lot of terrain.

My game plan for today...I had a really good inspection and inspected over the rolls and talked to the coaches about each of the sections. So I had a game plan for how I wanted to execute the run. Then I had good warm up, waited for my time to come and fired out of the start. There were a couple little changes from the course inspection earlier in the morning and I executed those fairly nicely and was able to stay ahead of the rollers in the top section of the course. Coming down there was a traverse into a bowl; I came across the traverse line and was on the highline. I started my turn a little too soon and it sort of caught me for two gates and I was a little too low inside with my body position but then I was able to get it back. I think I carried good speed on the bottom part of that pitch down across that jump then down into the finish. I thought, with the mistakes I had at the top of the bowl I didn't think I'd necessarily be on the podium today. I thought those were big enough to cost me quite a bit of time. I was definitely astounded when I came through and saw I was in first.

Does Bode Miller winning a medal help lift the spirits?
I definitely think so. When you have Americans on the podium whether they're women or men, and to have Bode come back from his race to the hotel, there is definitely a lot of excitement and enthusiasm because of Bode's result. For me it definitely motivated me. I was like 'ok, I know I can do this. If Bode can do it I know I can too'. It gave me some incentive.

What's it mean to have two New Englanders podium this week?
It's incredible. Bode has been strong over the last couple of years and injured more than that since he's been on the team it seems. It's definitely nice to have two CVAers (Carrabassett Valley Academy). He's from New Hampshire but we'll consider him a Mainer since he went to CVA. To have both of us doing so well and to have the support we get from Sugarloaf and everyone back at Carrabassett is awesome. To be able to put on such a good show at the start of World Championships is a lot of fun.

It seemed that the boys were in the spot light this season but now the women are. Is this a little back at you with the guys?
I don't necessarily think it is back at you with the guys. All season I've been emailing back and fforth with Daron and right away after my results in Lake Louise he emailed me saying he was going to try and keep up with you know. I think it is more of camaraderie, pushing each other along. We're all psyched. When the other team is doing well. Daron winning in Kitzbuehel is a tremendous, tremendous accomplishment and I was so psyched for him when he did that. It's more of camaraderie not so much the girls are better then the guys. We are definitely a team, all from the U.S.

What was the reaction in the finish area?
It was awesome. I wanted to wait until the last racers came down so I knew it was really true. That the result was going to stand. Going up on the podium at the awards ceremony with all the coaches hooting and hollering. It was such an awesome feeling. It was tremendous.

Any advice that your coaches gave you stand out?
The night before what stood out in my mind was Alex Hoedlmoser (DH/SG World Cup Coach) told the team 'you guys just have to go out and give 100 percent and if you give 100 percent you're going to be on the podium. If you try and give 150 percent you're going to be trying too hard'. That definitely stood out in my mind...it's not trying to amp up too much for the race and just ski within myself and I know I've been skiing well all year. If I did what I could, I know I'd be on the podium.

Does this also help you go in to the downhill?
I have a medal in my pocket from World Championships. It takes a little bit of pressure in a sense off me for the downhill. I'm going to go out and do my game plan and be charging. I'm hoping to be standing on the podium again. Having a medal in my pocket will make me a little more relaxed going in to the downhill.

Compare where you are skiing this year to this time last year?
I think this whole season...the past couple of years I had a victory in Lenzerheide two years ago and podium last year here. It was a little sporadic. I think I've finally been able to figure it out on race day what I need to do to ski fast. I think compared to last year this time it is experience plus my technician Ales Sopotnik works so hard and has a great repertoire with the Fischer compaany. They work well together getting the best possible product out there for me. Also, having the same coaches the past four-five years now makes everything fall in to place. Click.

Any celebrating tonight?
I'm sure we'll have a glass of champagne and toast the great success of two girls on the podium but we have an early morning tomorrow with downhill training. The celebration is going to have to wait for a couple more days.

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