Paerson aims for fourth gold at worlds |

Paerson aims for fourth gold at worlds

Andrew Dampf
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Sweden's Anja Paerson races down the course during the first run of the women's giant slalom at the Alpine Ski World Championships on Tuesday. She fell in the race, but is looking for her fourth gold of the championships in Friday's slalom race. (Alessandro Della Bella/AP)

ARE, Sweden ” Anja Paerson wants to become the first woman to win four golds at the world championships. However, competitor Marlies Schild and a slight cold may get in the way ahead of Friday night’s slalom race.

Paerson swept the first three races at these world championships with victories in the super G, downhill and combined. Paerson’s run was interrupted when she fell in the giant slalom Tuesday, and she later said she felt sick.

“I’ll be lying in bed this afternoon,” Paerson said Thursday. “I’m going to put all the energy I have left on (Friday). I’ve had an incredible championship so far, but it would be nice with another medal. Slalom has always been my event deep inside my heart.

“The only thing that could stop me is if I have a fever.”

Schild has been nearly perfect in slalom this season, winning five of the six races on the World Cup circuit. But she fell in Tuesday’s giant slalom, which was won by her Austrian teammate Nicole Hosp.

The top American slalom skier is Resi Stiegler, who won a Europa Cup slalom before traveling to the world championships.

Julia Mancuso, who won silver in the combined, is skipping the slalom to go home and rest for the remainder of the World Cup season.

Teammate Lindsey Kildow, who took silver behind Paerson in super G and downhill, likes the fairly flat slalom course here.

“Anja and Schild and Hosp are all so strong in slalom, so for me I’ll have to come up with a miracle to do something there,” Kildow said. “But it’s always possible.”

Paerson has still not regained her top form in slalom following offseason knee surgery. But she’s done well in the other events.

“You saw with Paerson how when you win one, the others follow more easily,” Austrian Alpine director Hans Pum said. “It’s a lot less pressure.”

The women have not raced slalom on the World Cup circuit since Jan. 7, when Schild won in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. Schild also won bronze behind Paerson’s gold at the Turin Olympics.

Paerson’s Swedish teammate Therese Borssen won the only slalom that Schild hasn’t captured this season.

Hosp, the Olympic silver medalist, has two second-place finishes in slalom this season, and two other Austrians ” Kathrin Zettel and Michaela Kirchgasser ” are also threats.

Tanja Poutiainen of Finland won the silver medal at the 2005 worlds in Bormio, Italy, and Sarka Zahrobska of the Czech Republic took the bronze.

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