Anita Wachter Still Rips
February 24, 1999
Thirty-two-year old Anita Wachter enjoys beating the young guns after having spent more than 15 years in the "White Circus."
"It will be really difficult to make a decision this spring about my future. My teammates and my trainers whish me to remain aboard, but I don't know. So far I just have so much fun," Wachter said after the race.
Two weeks after clinching bronze in the World Championships giant slalom, the Austrian veteran won her 17th World Cup race. It was a dramatic night competition marked by the failures of top contenders, such as the reigning world champion Alexandra Meissnitzer, Slovenian Spela Pretnar, Tuesday's slalom winner, and Italian Deborah Compagnoni, the great GS dominator of recent years.
Anita skied her best in the second run after finishing 3rd in the first run which was dominated by teammate Meissnitzer, who forced Wachter to push her limits. Meissnitzer then lost half her advance on Wachter when she lost her balance in an icy left turn and fell on her hip.
"I had a solid second run until that gate and my goal was to make up more time on the last flat section" Meissnitzer said. "I leaned to much on my left after that turn and I lost my balance on the icy snow there. It's my first major mistake in that specialty for a long time. It's too bad because I wanted to clinch the GS title with a 10th victory. Now I have to wait two more weeks," she said.
With only one more GS race, at the finals in Sierra Nevada, Spain, Meissnitzer's overall advance on Wachter has been reduced to 84 points. A 14th place in Spain would still be enough for final victory. Since she conquered the silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, Meissnitzer has been able to podium in all her giant slalom races.
Anita Wachter was as surprised as she was delighted by her unexpected win after the race. "I'm having a great time this winter, it's really wonderful," she said. "I gave all that I had in me in that second run but I would not have beaten Alexandra if she finished her second run. She deserves the GS title - I don't count on winning it at Sierra Nevada. I have reached much more than I had expected six months ago."
The next women's race, a two-run "sprint" downhill, is planned for Saturday. The favorite, Renate Goetschl, who captured two silvers and a gold in Vail, set the best time in the first practice run this morning while Meissnitzer was only 8th.
Mountain Zone European Ski Correspondent