Women's GS: Sölden, AUT
Saturday, Oct. 24, 1998
[Click for Men's GS Story]
It’s the first success ever for Norway’s women’s team in a World Cup giant slalom and the first since Ingeborg Marken’s win in Lillehammer in 1996. Flemmen, who placed 3rd in a World Cup race a year ago in Utah’s Park City, had a hard time believing what had happened on the challenging course of the Rettenbach glacier above Sölden.
"This is wonderful. I have worked so hard to reach this goal and I can’t express my joy which is so strong," said Flemmen. "After my excellent first run, I tried hard to remain focused on the technical aspects of the competition in order to forget about my lead. It worked well."
Andrine, in her fifth World Cup season, had a strong '97-'98 winter with several top-10 results. She was 4th in Bormio, Italy, after setting the best time in the first run, but was too nervous to retain her lead.
"I have changed ski supplier during last summer and this result is very important for my confidence," she said. "I had a great second run the crowd supported me a lot. We have trained a lot despite difficult snow conditions on the European glacier and I have great goals for this coming season."
"I was not able to be as aggressive as usual today," Compagnoni, last year's best GS skier, said. "I was very tired in the last flat part and I lost a lot of time there, but this result is fine. Last year I peaked too early and I struggled in the middle of the season before the Olympics. I want to win another gold medal at Vail in February before to end my career."
Ironically, her boyfriend Bòdvar Bjoerke is one of the Norwegian team trainers, with whom Pernilla has been training this fall. "Andrine and Pernilla were cruising at the same level in the last tests," admitted Bòdvar. "It’s just too bad that she couldn’t race today".
Germany’s Martina Ertl, the defending GS World Cup Champion, came in 10th at 2.61 seconds. And a very impressive result was achieved by Janica Kostelic, from Croatia, 12th thanks to a great second run. She is only 16 and has only once started in World Cup race last winter.
None of the US skiers could qualify for the second run. Apparently only Kristina Kosznick, the slalom specialist, may be able to aim for places among the best on the World Cup tour. She will have the opportunity to show her talent in three weeks in Park City, Utah.
Mountain Zone European Ski Correspondent