Fenninger stays true to goal to strike GOLD
Twenty one year old Anna Fenninger held her nerve after finishing fourth in the Downhill section of the Super Combined to capture her first World Title in the Super Combined in Garmisch. While the warmer conditions meant the downhill course was grippier than it had been in training, Fenninger gave her all and then put in an accomplished slalom performance to take the Gold. Anja Paerson increased the dominance of the HEAD racers with bronze, holding her own after the downhill section.
The warmer conditions helped a number of the less experienced downhillers in the field yet it was Lizz Goergl who posted the fastest time after the first leg of the race. Goergl is in a super confident mood after having won the Super G and was over a quarter of a second ahead of the rest of the field and with the Paerson and Fenninger posting competitive times as well, HEAD racers were showing their strength in depth.
Lindsey Vonn, who passed all her medical tests prior to the run, said afterwards "Everything is still looking pretty positive and I'm still making good progress. I just have to keep giving it rest. I passed all my tests yesterday and today, so it's just a matter of getting the rest that I need and hopefully being ready for the race on Sunday." For Maria Riesch, audibly suffering from a throat infection and fever, she posted a time good enough for fifteenth after the downhill did not want to upset her legion of hometown fans by missing the slalom.
And so the racers, coaches and fans moved from the Kandahar venue across town to Gudiberg and the slalom run. Alex Coletti was first of the HEAD racers to attack the course and put down a solid enough time. Maria Riesch was the next HEAD racer down and with her presence in the start gate, the noise level rose enormously. A fit and healthy Riesch could have destroyed the course, but on this occasion Riesch did not have the strength to carry her speed through into the finish. Third place was posted but the facial expression showed that she knew it would not be good enough for a medal.
Indeed, Riesch was off the podium when the next racer made the finish. Twenty two year old Denise Feierabend was the next HEAD racer down and she went into second. Three racers later and Anna Fenninger grabbed the lead. The self confidence and hard work on the training hills combined to give her the lead. Fenninger, who has not raced slalom this year, preferring to concentrate on the Super Combined, showed great skills on her way down the course. “I just told myself to keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting,” she admitted afterwards.
Anja Paerson then joined her on the podium in the hunt for her 18th medal at major Games. Dominique Gisin was unable to dislodge the podium places and then came Lizz Goergl who said afterwards: “It would have been a huge dream for me but I did not ski well in the slalom,” yet she was overjoyed that her team mate had won.
Two women’s racers and HEAD racers have taken GOLD in both!
World Champion: Anna Fenninger (AUT) HEAD
Silver Tina Maze
Bronze: Anja Paerson (SWE) HEAD
5th Lizz Goergl (AUT) HEAD
6th Denise Feierabend (SUI) HEAD
11th Maria Riesch (GER) HEAD
22nd Alexandra Coletti (MON) HEAD