Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Jan. 17, 2001--The final three pre-World Championships races are scheduled for the weekend in this 1956 Olympic resort village in the heart of Italy's famed Dolomites. The U.S. Ski Team will announce its Worlds team following the weekend.
The weekend schedule:
Friday - downhill
Saturday - super G
Sunday - giant slalom
U.S. skiers and coaches were still beaming about the outstanding weekend in Haus, Austria, from Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) in which she had four top-10 results in a little over 24 hours. She was seventh in a downhill and super G last Saturday, sixth in a slalom Sunday and second in combined for the weekend (pairing the DH and slalom results).
"Caroline was incredible on the weekend," Head Coach Marjan Cernigoj said Wednesday night after the women had two downhilltraining runs. "She's such an incredible skier and such an incredible person, and it was so hard to watch her struggle lastmonth...but now she's back and she's skiing with such confidence." Lalive, the team's lone four-event racer, was sevneth in one of theDH training runs earlier in the day, he said.
Olympic champion Picabo Street, whose first World Cup top-10 came in Cortina in 1993, was 40th and 29th in the two training runs,Cernigoj said, as she continues her bid to return from injuries that sidelined her for two seasons. She had arthroscopic knee surgeryagain in November and although she was 24th in her first World Cup race in December, she has conceded the return to racing has beenmore of a struggle than she envisioned.
"She's done everything, and she's continuing to do it all," Cernigoj said, "but every day is a test, every course is a test for her. Themental part is so tough, so relentless, and knee pain is always there. Picabo's been so fast in the flats and the straightaways - she'salmost always top 10 - but she's coming from a place she's never been. It's like she's starting all over and it's so tough."
In addition to Street and Lalive, the U.S. entries in the downhill and super G include Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME), Jonna MendesHeavenly, CA) and Megan Gerety (Anchorage, AK). In training, Clark and Gerety hung-up top-10 results - Clark finishing fourth in thefirst run (and 19th in the second) while Gerety was ninth in the growing flat-light, cloudy situation of the second run after being12th in the morning training.
In a related development, Cernigoj said Alison Powers (Winter Park, CO), who fractured her left kneecap in a downhill crash lastSaturday in Haus, Austria, was expected to fly home Monday. She underwent surgery in a Salzburg hospital and her mother is withher.