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Alexandra Meissnitzer on a Roll

Are, Sweden
February 22, 1999

  • Slalom: Spela Pretnar is Back on Top
  • GS#2: Anita Wachter Still Rips
  • Downhill: Goetschl Wins Double DH

    Alexandra Meissnitzer Alexandra Meissnitzer
    Meissnitzer Wins Giant Slalom
    Alexandra Meissnitzer has not lost her motivation after clinching two gold medals during the recent World Championships in Vail: the 25-year-old Austrian celebrated her ninth success this season by winning the first of two giant slaloms scheduled this week in Are, Sweden. Meissnitzer beat her teammate Anita Wachter by 65/100 of a second and Norway's Andrine Flemmen by almost two seconds. These three skiers have won all of the GS events this winter as well as all three medals two weeks ago in Vail.

    "I remain very motivated by the possibility to clinch my first World Cup title this week - another top-3 place on Wednesday could be enough to get the GS title..."Alexandra Meissnitzer

    Once more Anita Wachter forced Meissnitzer to ski at her limits in the second run: only 22/100 of a second separated both skier after the first run won by Meissnitzer.

    "I knew that I had to go for it in the second leg," said "Meissi" at the press conference. "Anita is in great shape and she fought hard to keep a chance to win the GS World Cup title. I hope she will resume her career next winter. It's obvious that she competes with great pleasure and a perfect momentum after her dramatic injury from last year. She is really amazing."

    "I had no other choice than to take all risks in both runs to beat her," added Meissnitzer. "I had a nice break at home last week and I feel ready for more action even if I'm tired as all the other skiers. The pressure to clinch the World Cup is a strong boost for my momentum."

    Switzerland's Sonja Nef, who placed 2nd here last year, came in 4th this time, only 8/100 behind Flemmen. Sweden's Anna Ottosson, 3rd in 1998, was 5th in front of Italy's Deborah Compagnoni, who still fights for her first win this season. It was again a bad day for the German team: last year's winner, Martina Ertl, didn't finish the first run while Hilde Gerg was a far 26th. It does not seem that any of them will prevent Meissnitzer from becoming the third Austrian champion to capture the overall World Cup title after Annemarie Moser-Proell and Petra Kronberger, who won it nine times together.

    Canada's Allison Forsyth was the best skier from North America in 19th position. USA's Caroline Lalive was 28th. Her teammate Kirsten Clark didn't qualify for the second run.

    Anita Wachter Anita Wachter

    This is Meissnitzer's tenth World Cup win since the 1995/96 season and it dramatically reinforced her lead in the overall and the GS standings. With 450 points lead over Hilde Gerg in the overall rankings, she is practically unbeatable until the Finals at Sierra Nevada, Spain. And Anita Wachter, who clinched her overall title here in 1993, doesn't believe in her chance to pass her in the GS standings.

    "Alexandra remains focused and motivated despite all her recent successes. I don't see how I could beat her in this moment," said the 32-year-old veteran who won the giant slalom in Are back in 1995. "This season has been wonderful and I don't want to think about my future right now. I will have time to take a decision next spring. I'm having much fun when I compete. It has never been so easy for me in the past. I ski at my best and I still hope to win one of the last two giant slalom races this season. Then I'll see!"

    Andrine Flemmen Andrine Flemmen
    In the slalom planned for Tuesday evening, Australia's Zali Steggall will go for her her first World Cup win this season 10 days after capturing the slalom gold medal in the Vail Worlds. But the Swedish skiers, who yet to win a race in Are, will be tough to beat.

    — Mountain Zone European Ski Correspondent

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