Kostelic, Pietilae-Holmner win 1st parallel events
MUNICH – Ivica Kostelic of Croatia and Maria Pietilae-Holmner of Sweden won the first parallel slaloms in the World Cup on Sunday. The event was open to only the top 16 Alpine skiers.
Kostelic, a slalom specialist, beat Julien Lizeroux of France over two heats in the big final by a total of 1.61 seconds. That gave him 100 points for the overall World Cup standings and $43,000.
“You really have to be aware of your senses,” Kostelic said. “You see and hear the other skier.”
American allrounder Bode Miller won the small final, defeating Felix Neureuther of Germany by 0.05 seconds after leading by 0.25 seconds in the first heat.
In the women’s big final, Pietilae-Holmner trailed Tina Maze of Slovenia by 0.12 seconds after the first heat but came back to win by 0.47 seconds. Elisabeth Goergl of Austria beat Daniela Merighetti of Italy in the small final.
Skiers raced side by side down a 200-meter course that contained 20 gates. More than 25,000 fans attended Olympiapark in downtown Munich, which used the event to promote its bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“I genuinely hope it’s not the future of ski racing,” Miller said. “It’s not the tradition of ski racing. It’s a good component of the season to build interest, to bring ski racing to a city and it’s really positive. But there’s no way you can call a season of this ‘World Cup.’
“We need to move in the opposite direction. This is for show. To balance this you need the longest, most challenging and difficult hills as well.”
Michael Walchhofer of Austria went out in the first round but was able to overtake Silvan Zurbriggen on top of the overall World Cup standings, with 409 points to 395 for the Swiss skier. American racer Ted Ligety is third with 336 after losing in the first round to Lizeroux.
Miller is 12th overall with 195 points while Kostelic jumped to seventh with 279.
On the women’s side, Pietilae-Holmner beat Lindsey Vonn in the quarterfinals after the American stumbled in the first run.
“I have done these events before,” Pietilae-Holmner said. “I just decided to go for it and it worked. I had nothing to lose.”
Despite losing, Vonn was happy to have been part of the event.
“It was really fun,” she said. “The atmosphere was amazing. There was so many people. I’ve never seen an event like this before. So it was definitely a fun night.”
“In the second round, I was ahead of her (Pietilae-Holmner) by half a gate and I got inside and went out,” she said. “It was too much time to make up in the second run. It happens.”
Overall World Cup leader Maria Riesch of Germany lost in the first round to Merighetti but remained on top of the standings with 753 points, 106 ahead of Vonn. Goergl is third with 483 points.
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