Mancuso leads American 1-2-4 finish
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
ALTENMARKT-ZAUCHENSEE, Austria – Not since the 1984 Olympics had U.S. women been so dominant in a ski race.
Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Kildow captured the top two places in a World Cup super-combi on Sunday, and Resi Stiegler just missed making it an American sweep. The 1-2-4 finish was a first for American women in a World Cup event, and matched the showing in the giant slalom at the Sarajevo Olympics 23 years ago.
“What a great victory for me, but for the team also,” Mancuso said. “This is one of the best days for American skiing since a very long time.”
Mancuso had a combined time of 2 minutes, 9.16 seconds to edge Kildow by 0.06 seconds. The pair had the best times in the morning downhill portion of the event, and held their places in the afternoon slalom run.
Slalom specialist Marlies Schild of Austria was third, and Stiegler was fourth in 2:21.09 – a fifth of a second behind Schild for the third spot on the podium.
Mancuso’s strength is speed events, and she finished third in a downhill Saturday. Stiegler traditionally has been best at technical races such as slalom. They swapped tips Sunday.
“Resi and I just shared some secrets to help each of us,” Mancuso said with a laugh in the finish area.
The 1-2-4 finish matched that of the American women in the 1984 Olympic giant slalom, when Debbie Armstrong won gold, Christin Cooper took silver and Tamara McKinney placed fourth.
Mancuso led Kildow by 0.88 seconds after the downhill and said she knew that margin would be sliced in the slalom. After she captured her second World Cup win, Mancuso – the Olympic giant slalom champion – rolled around on her back on the snow with her skis in the air.
“My good downhill time helped me a lot,” Mancuso said. “I did not have to do anything special in the slalom – just make my own race and avoid errors. It was not my best slalom ever, but I made it a consistent one.”
Kildow, who had crashed the day earlier in a downhill, closed the gap but could not catch her teammate.
“I was a bit nervous for today’s races after my crash on Saturday,” Kildow said. “I would have been happy if I had just finished my slalom run. Really awesome that I did so well.
“And I did not just finish, it was a really good run as well. This was a great performance from the whole team. I hope it will give a big boost to the ski sports in America.”
Sweden’s Anja Paerson, fourth after the downhill Sunday, was on track to win the super-combi until she missed a gate just before the slalom finish.
Schild, who won the only previous super-combi this season in December, retained her lead in the super-combi and overall World Cup standings. Schild has 160 super-combi points, followed by Kildow with 116 and Mancuso with 115.
In the overall standings, Schild leads with 881 points. Austrians Nicole Hosp (748) and Kathrin Zettel (562) are second and third. Mancuso is fifth with 534 points and Kildow is sixth with 528.
Stiegler, who was 14th in Sunday’s downhill leg and second fastest in the slalom, is the daughter of former Austrian Olympic champion Pepi Stiegler.
“Resi’s improved so much in speed. Every day she’s getting more comfortable and today she had a great downhill,” U.S. women’s coach Patrick Riml said. “It’s unbelievable what happened, just unbelievable. If you asked me at breakfast if we could go 1-2-4, I would have said that’s wishful thinking.”
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