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Austria's Hosp Wins Her First Slalom

MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy, Dec. 17, 2003 (AP by Andrew Dampf) -- Austria's Nicole Hosp was the fastest skier in both runs and won her first World Cup slalom race Wednesday.

Hosp finished with a combined time of 1 minute, 37.97 seconds on the steep Canalone Miramonti course, 0.29 seconds ahead of Sweden's Anja Paerson, who won Tuesday's race.

Marlies Schild, another Austrian, was 0.53 seconds back in third place.

"I heard Paerson was leading when I was at the start and I said to myself I've really got to win this race," said Hosp, who finished third Tuesday.

It was Hosp's second career victory. Last season, she won a giant slalom on the Austrian glacier of Soelden.

Hosp attributed a large part of her success to a change of boots.

The win moved her up to second place in the overall World Cup standings, 190 points behind Paerson.

Paerson looked slightly unstable in her second run, with her arms and poles flailing out beside her.

She said she was tired and still getting her energy back from a successful North American trip.

"It's mentally tough always to be on the podium," she said. "I'll be very happy on Christmas to stay in bed. I thought I could have won today too. Both runs I was perfect on the top part, but I made some mistakes on the bottom. I'm happy for my second place."

The race was originally scheduled for the Slovakian resort of Vratna, but was moved due to a lack of snow.

Last season's overall winner Janica Kostelic canceled her appearance as a forerunner because of knee pain, which could lead to surgery.

Kostelic, who has yet to compete this season because of a thyroid problem, was a forerunner Tuesday. Kostelic also has a history of knee problems.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press

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