February 25, 2005
SAN SICARIO, Italy (AP by Andrew Dampf)--Sweden's Anja Paerson won a super giant slalom Friday to inaugurate the course for next year's Turin Olympics, her first victory in a speed event at the World Cup level.
Paerson boosted her lead in the overall standings and showed her win in the super-G at last month's world championships was no fluke. She covered the Fraiteve Olympique course in 1 minute, 31.85 seconds.
Isolde Kostner of Italy, an early starter, was second, 0.57 seconds behind, for her best result this season. Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria and Tina Maze of Slovenia tied for third, 0.65 behind. The top American was Lindsey Kildow in 13th place.
Paerson leads Janica Kostelic of Croatia 1,061-998 in the overall standings. Kostelic tied with Hilde Gerg of Germany for fifth.
Paerson, who fell in downhill training Thursday, was behind Kostner at the first checkpoint, then picked up her pace on the bottom section, where several favorites lost a lot of time.
``I knew I could have done well coming into the season, but I would never have imagined that I would win the super-G at the world championships and then another in World Cup,'' Paerson said.
Renate Goetschl of Austria finished seventh and lost her lead in the super-G standings to Dorfmeister with one race remaining in the discipline, next month's World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Dorfmeister leads Goetschl 393-371. Kildow is the only other skier with a legitimate shot at winning the super-G title. She has 346 points.
Kildow, trying to put her two fourth-place finishes at the worlds behind her, was on pace for a top-three finish until losing a big chunk of time on the bottom part of the course.
Several skiers, led by Goetschl and Dorfmeister, complained that the layout was too straight and easy for an Olympic super-G course. Dorfmeister suggested that the Olympic super-G should be held on the men's course in nearby Sestriere, where the women competed at last year's World Cup finals. Paerson said she wasn't sure what the best solution was.
``Sometimes it's also hard to ski easy courses,'' she said. ``It makes it more challenging to win.''
A downhill is scheduled for this course Saturday, with a combined race on the program Sunday.
The Fraiteve course is scheduled to host women's speed events during the 2006 Olympics. Women's technical events will be held on the same course as the men in Sestriere while men's speed races are slated for Sestriere Borgata.
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press