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First Win for Teenager Anja Paerson
Mammoth Mountain
Thursday, Decmber 3, 1998

  • Super-G: Another Surprise Winner in Super-G

    "I knew it would be a bonus to start first so I skied my ass off...This is only my first World Cup season..."
    — Anja Paerson
    Seventeen-year-old Anja Paerson surprised all the favorites in the second slalom of the season hold in windy Mammoth Mountain in winning her first ever World Cup race. The 1998 GS Junior World Champion come back from 15th place in the first run to beat by .01. Australiaís Zali Steggall while Austriaís Ingrid Salvenmoser came 3rd at .45.

    Her teammate Sabina Egger, a strong leader in the first run, was the main victim of the tough weather conditions as she only took 4th place in front of another Swede, Pernilla Wiberg.

    Sloveniaís Urska Hrovat, the winner in Park City, was 3rd in the first run but she straddled a gate in the second run and has to be disqualified after clocking the 7th best final time. This allowed Egger to took the lead in the slalom World Cup standings in front of Paerson, who finished 11th two weeks ago at Park City. Austriaís Alexandra Meissnitzer didnít compete in that race yet she retained the lead inthe Overall World Cup standings in front of Germanyís Martina Ertl, 7th in that slalom, and Renate Goetschl. Wiberg moved up to 4th place while Janica Kostelic, who straddled a gate in the first run is now 9th.

    Paerson could not believe what happened to her in the finish line :"This is crazy, I have never dreamt about such an early victory" she said. "I was really motivated at the start of the second run since I knew that the race conditions would be perfect. The course was technically more demanding which favors me.

    "My coach told me to switch off my brain, to forget about the result and to be as aggressive as possible. I listen to him but I didnít expect to finish among the top-3 today. I knew it would be a bonus to start first so I skied my ass off...This is only my first World Cup season and I was just hoping to increase my experience. Iím still planning to compete in the Junior World Championships in March but I guess now that I can also plan to race the Senior World Championships at Vail in February."

    Anja grew up in northern Tarnaby, the place which became famous in the 1970ís when skiingís superstar Ingemar Stenmark started to dominate the alpine competitions. Her father is also her ski coach while her mother is a school teacher.

    "The slopes on which I learned to ski and on which I train are very similar to this one. Now Iím looking forward to go back home and to relax with my family and our dog, a kind of a husky that my father takes with him to hunt moose. I guess people will talk a lot about this race but I donít care so far about being famous. I just aim to have fun while racing and reach some top results. Our team is very strong in slalom," she said.

    This great win propelled Paerson up to 20th place in the slalom world ranking which influences the startlist for future races. Her talent should allow her to enter soon the first seed of 15 next to the leader Ylva Nowen and the 1997 Overall World Cup champion Pernilla Wiberg .

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