French skiers pay respects to terror victims while competing in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

French skiers pay respects to terror victims while competing in Aspen

Tessa Worley, a leader of the French women's ski team, sports a sticker of the Eiffel Tower on her helmet to honor the victims of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.

As France held a national day of mourning Friday for the 130 people killed in the terrorist attacks of Nov. 13, the women's ski team honored the victims in their own way while racing in Aspen.

Tessa Worley, who finished fifth, best among the French women in the giant slalom, skied with a sticker of the Eiffel Tower on her helmet. The iconic image has been used within France and by other countries to show solidarity with Paris.

"I wanted to make a little sign for them to show them that we're thinking of them even if we're on the other side of the world," Worley said. "I don't know, maybe our skiing can give them a little bit of joy and a smile on their face again."

"Yeah, for sure, we were thinking very hard about them," Worley said in the finish area after her second run.

The French women's ski team has been out of the country in competition and training since Nov. 15, but they experienced the initial shock after the attacks by ISIS terrorists. It was difficult to process what was happening at the time, she said. While the team couldn't participate directly in Friday's day of mourning, they were there in spirit.

"That's why we hope we gave them something to cheer about, and a good result that makes France a little bit happier," Worley said.

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The 26-year-old veteran racer would have loved to finish on the podium to lift her country's spirits. She's no stranger to victory in Aspen. She won the Aspen Winternational giant slalom races in 2008 and 2010.

Worley was in fourth place after Friday's first run, one second behind. She couldn't hold her place, and slipped one notch despite a solid second run.

Several members of the French team were competitive, but none landed on the podium. Nevertheless, each member of the team had the Eiffel Tower or another symbol of their home country on their race outfits to show respect on the somber day.

"It was our personal way of saying 'hi' and that we're thinking about them," Worley said.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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