A great season for the HEAD Champions

January 26th, 2010

With dozens of podiums finishes including eleven wins achieved since the season start, the HEAD champions have clearly dominated the women’s tour so far. Racers such as Maria Riesch, Sarka Zahrobska, Lindsey Vonn, Elisabeth Görgl or Anja Pärson have been on the front of the scene for months now and they belong to the group of top favourites for Olympic medals in a month at the Vancouver Winter Games.

With a total of eight wins, Lindsey is now chasing several records – all the downhill races within a season set by Austria’s skiing legend Annemarie Moser-Proell in 1973 and more than 14 wins in a winter established by Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider in 1989.

The skier from Vail also has a good chance to retain her downhill and Super-G World Cup titles and she will be fighting until the Finals at Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a third consecutive Overall title, another rare performance on the women’s circuit.

Maria Riesch is still atop the slalom standings and just behind her friend Lindsey in the Overall classification. At Cortina d’Ampezzo she achieved her best performance in downhill coming in 2nd only a few tenths behind Vonn. It was her tenth podium finish this season after her win at Levi.

Maria keeps on fighting

“I had a really good race, I thought that maybe I could win today but Lindsey Vonn was again too fast on the bottom,” the German told the press at Cortina. “A second place is really good, but it’s hard when you have like no chance to win at any race! It’s a little bit frustrating.”

“I felt really good on my skis, I already felt pretty good in the training run. I like this course and it’s my best result in Cortina d’Ampezzo in the specialty. I thought at first I couldn’t get any better than a 10th place. But now I’m happy with my run, and I only lost 20 points on Lindsey today.”

“I wasn’t so good in Super-G the other day, I made too many mistakes and I was really sad to have missed this chance. I fought hard then in downhill, and it feels really good to be on the podium again.”

On the technically demanding courses at St. Moritz Maria Riesch will try hard again to win again.

A tough week for Anja Pärson at Cortina d’Ampezzo

This will also be the case for Anja Pärson who had found memories from the Swiss resort where she captured gold in giant slalom at the 2003 FIS Worlds. The Swedish superstar also won a downhill, a Super-G and a Super-combined there in recent years and she seems ready to get another one there this season.

Her two 3rd places at Cortina d’Ampezzo reinforced her confidence as she didn’t feel so sure prior the Italian speed events after her bad crash from last year. The podium finish in the downhill truly was a relief for her.

“I was really nervous today, I remember what happened here last year,” she explained afterwards. “Even if I was doing fine during the training runs, I couldn't go for it. I knew that I had to jump further and that all the other girls would jump 3 or 4 meters further than me. At this time, I knew that it would be big and horrible. I didn't know whether I would be able to do it,” she added, describing at length the full scene.

"So I came there, made this huge jump and knew that I was completely unbalanced skiing all over the place. The first thing to do is go for it and be aggressive. I can try to tell myself to take a high line, a big breath and to ski comfortable without doing anything in extra, but I'm just too nervous.”

“The memories from my crash here last year are too horrible and I still have so much pain from Flachau. It was way too much in my head to ski for victory today, still I was fighting and that's all what I wanted.”

"I'm up there on the podium, showing that I have my place too. What I need is to have more comfortable runs in future and stop to be nervous before a race. I just know that everything will be there for me at the Olympics. If I can deal with my nerves, I'll be one of the girls to aim for the gold medal at Whistler.”

With a total of five podium finishes in the speed events and in giant slalom, Anja sits in a strong 4th place in the Overall standings. She would have been much closer to the leaders without her two DNF’s at Lake Louise and Val d’Isère while skiing for victory. Her main goal now is to remain healthy for the coming weeks and find back all her fun to ski and recover her entire motivation prior her last Olympics.