Sweden’s Anja Paerson wins downhill
December 16, 2007
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland ” Olympic slalom champion Anja Paerson won her first World Cup downhill in almost two years Saturday to move to fourth place on the women’s all-time win table.
The Swede completed the Corviglia course in 1 minute, 39.32 seconds in sunny conditions for her first victory this season.
Lindsey Vonn of the United States was 0.08 behind despite nearly falling in the final section. It was her second top-three result in three downhill races. Vonn won the season-opening downhill in Lake Louise, Canada.
Maria Riesch of Germany was third, .33 back.
“I’ve always been fast here. I wasn’t perfect on my line but the conditions were simply perfect for me today,” Paerson said. “I’m also finding the motivation that was missing until now. I really feel like I’m back.”
Paerson won the world championship downhill gold last season in Are, Sweden, but her last World Cup victory in the speed discipline dated back to a race in March 2006.
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The downhill, super-G and combined world champion last season, Paerson had struggled with motivation early in the season and hadn’t done better than seventh place. Her most recent win came in the final super-G race last season in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Paerson’s 36th career World Cup win moved her into fourth place with Germany’s Katja Seizinger on the all-time victories list. Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell leads with 62. Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider is second with 55, while Renate Goetschl of Austria, who was fourth in Saturday’s downhill with 1:39.70, has 46 wins.
Paerson finished 18th in the last downhill in Aspen, Colo., a controversial weather-skewed contest that was called off before 19 competitors were able to race because of fog and poor visibility. Four others chose not to start.
The weekend’s races ” a downhill and a super-G ” were moved to St. Moritz from Val d’Isere because of a lack of snow at the French resort.
Technical specialist Marlies Schild of Austria scored no points on Saturday but still leads the overall standings with 343 points after nine races. Teammate Nicole Hosp is second with 339. With her win, Paerson vaulted into third from ninth position (283).
Vonn leads the downhill rankings with 230, ahead of Canadian Britt Janyk, who is second at 192 and third-placed Goetschl (190).
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