Sweden’s Anja Paerson wins downhill | AspenTimes.com

Sweden’s Anja Paerson wins downhill

Erica Bulman
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Anja Paerson of Sweden celebrates after winning the women's downhill at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Are, Sweden on Sunday. (Alessandro Trovati/AP)

ARE, Sweden ” Anja Paerson of Sweden won the downhill Sunday, becoming the first skier ever to collect gold medals in all five disciplines at the Alpine Skiing World Championships.

Paerson, who also won the super G and combined titles this week, raced down the 2,240-meter (7,350-foot) WM Strecke course in 1 minute, 26.89 seconds.

Paerson had already won gold in the giant slalom at the last two worlds, and one in the slalom in 2001.

“It was a dream for me to come here and win the downhill after last year,” said Paerson, who was third in the Olympic downhill. “It’s too good to be true.

“It was important for me to see the No. 1 next to my name on the scoreboard.”

Paerson hadn’t won a race this season before the worlds, and struggled with her form following offseason knee surgery.

Vail’s Lindsey Kildow, who took silver behind Paerson in the super G, made a mistake coming off a jump on the upper part of the course and took silver in 1:27.29.

“I made a dumb mistake and thought I’d lost everything, that there was no chance I’d made a medal,” the American said. “So I figured I just had to go as straight and as fast as I could. I was lucky to make up half a second in the lower part.”

Kildow was also second to Paerson both in the final downhill training session and in the downhill portion of Friday’s combined race.

Nicole Hosp of Austria took the bronze in 1:27.37.

“I’m so lucky. I can’t believe I won a medal in a discipline I had to qualify for,” Hosp said. “I didn’t believe I had a chance at a medal in downhill. I was in the finish watching all the other girls run and I saw Renate come down and I prayed, ‘Please not fourth.'”

Janica Kostelic of Croatia, who is taking a year off for health reasons, won three golds at the last worlds in Bormio, Italy, in the downhill, combined and slalom. She skipped the super-G and the giant slalom because of the flu.

Paerson will have a chance to top her longtime rival since she is also starting in the slalom, giant slalom and team event next week.

“I have three more starts to go and you never know what could happen,” Paerson said.

At the 1999 worlds, Lasse Kjus earned medals in all five events. The nations team event was not included then.

Renate Goetschl, who won the last three World Cup downhills and took bronze in the super G on Tuesday, finished seventh.

Goetschl missed the World Cup finals here last season due to knee surgery and hadn’t seen the new women’s course until she arrived for the worlds.

“The light wasn’t so good and I couldn’t see the bumps on the course so I was a little nervous,” said Goetschl, who had a boot buckle open on her way down.

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