Women's Super-G: Vail, Colorado
It was worth the wait, as the women served up a race worthy of the super in super-G.
Super, that is, if you're a fan of Austria.
The Austrian ski team came into the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships with ambitions of medaling in every discipline, even joking of taking every medal in all events. Lasse Kjus of Norway ruined that in the men's super-G Tuesday, tying the favored Hermann Maier and preventing a clean sweep by the Austrians, who still took the tied 1st position and 3rd.
The women held up their end of the bargain in Wednesday's rescheduled super-G, with Austrians sweeping the podium, giving Austria five of the six medals awarded so far.
Meissnitzer won in one minute, 20.53 seconds on a blustery, windy International course on Vail Mountain. Second was Renate Goetschl, just .03 seconds back, followed by Michaela Dorfmeister in 3rd place .21 back. These Austrians won't be happy with a good result. They want world domination.
"I'm happy to have won because now I can concentrate on skiing. Everyone wanted me to win, so now it's better," said Meissnitzer, who was serenaded by a huge throng from her fan club.
After Meissnitzer won, American skier Picabo Street embraced her. Street and Meissnitzer have been close friends since they shared a podium in 1996, and the pair often hang out together.
"My best friend just won," said a beaming Street, an Olympic gold medallist at Nagano last year in the super-G who's recovering from a broken leg. "I really wanted her to win today. We've been talking about a lot of stuff, so it's great."
Austrian teammates Goetschl and Dorfmeister followed, but neither could match Meissnitzer in the technical section.
Officials were closely watching gusty winds that threatened to postpone the super-G yet again. Monday's race was snowed out, but by race time, winds died down.
Meissnitzer, a winner of six World Cup races this year and the overall points leader, ripped the lower half of the course, making up time on the steep, technical faces coming into the final drop at Pepi's Face. Germany's Hilde Gerg and Martina Ertl finished 4th and 5th, respectively. Ertl, a downhill specialist, was fastest on the top of the course. But Meissnitzer put the hammer down and roared into the finish, much to the delight of the cheering crowd.
Aspen Katie Monahan was the top American, crossing the line 23rd at 1:22.90. "I wanted to ski better today. I was hoping for a better result," said Monahan, who's been nursing a bad back. "The course was very technical."
Jonna Mendes of South Lake Tahoe, CA, was 26th in the field of 43 at 1:23.23, while Steamboat Springs' Caroline Lalive was 28th at 1:23.26 despite racing with a cold. Megan Gerety of Anchorage, AK, was looking to have a strong run but missed a gate in the lower section of the course and did not finish.
While the women were at Vail, the men had downhill training at Beaver Creek today. The women race in the combined event on Friday, Feb., 5, and they continue training this week in preparation for Sunday's downhill at Vail.
Women's Super-G Postponed
Race officials plan to meet this evening to determine when to reschedule the race. The next race, the men's super-G, is scheduled tomorrow at 12:30 local time.
Andrew Hood, Mountain Zone Correspondent
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