Mendes 5th in World Cup downhill
December 21, 2003
South Lake Tahoe skier can’t miss in Switzerland
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland – Jonna Mendes, who was the bronze medalist in the super G at the 2003 World Championships in St. Moritz, returned Saturday and grabbed the second World Cup top-5 finish of her career, with a fifth in a World Cup downhill that was won by Austrian Renate Goetschl.
South Lake Tahoe’s Mendes is a two-time veteran of the Winter Olympics. Mendes, who collected her first World Cup top-5 in a downhill in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, last season, was clocked at 1 minute 40.24 seconds.
Mendes’ teammate Kirsten Clark of Raymond, Maine, posted a time of 1:40.85 to finish 16th. The race was moved to Laax, Switzerland, because of poor snow conditions.
“This was not the same hill as world champs,” U.S. downhill and super G coach Alex Hoedelmoser said. “We were over on the men’s course, but Jonna – and Clarky too – skied really well. Jonna skied so well through the tough turns.
“Jonna was fastest up top where it’s flat and it’s all gliding – and Bryna (McCarty, Concord, Vt.) was second and ‘Powy’ (Alison Powers, Winter Park, Colo.) third, but Bryna and Powy couldn’t do it in the turns through the middle.”
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Mendes, running second in the field of 56, said the flats led into “some turns that were pretty technical for us. There were a lot of big crankers right in the middle of the course. Definitely, two big turns were crucial and I was able to keep my speed through both of them.
“I knew I’d been fast on top, so I knew my skis were running and I pretty much kept the speed I gained up there. I kept telling myself ‘You’re really fast. You’re really fast.’ I already believe in my ability,” she said. “And I know my skiing is really good. I’ve already proved that, but a lot of times my biggest obstacle is my head. Today, I was ready for it.”
Mendes drew a comparison between St. Moritz and her amazing successes (first top-30, top-20, top-10) at Canada’s Lake Louise, noting, “There are certain hills we race on every year that I seem to enjoy – and this is one of them. We were partly on the men’s course, but St. Moritz does such a good job. They get so many volunteers and course workers, and conditions were terrific.
“The hill’s in great shape.”
She added, “Normally, downhills will have a lot of repetition in them; we see a lot of the same courses each year but this season we’re going to some new places, so I hope to share the love (from Louise, from St. Moritz),” she laughed.
Fog canceled the super G Sunday. The next World Cup stop will be Lienz, Austria, Dec. 27-28 for giant slalom and slalom races. The women also have a super G and slalom scheduled for Megeve, France, Jan. 4-5.
In collecting the 29th win of her career, Goetschl finished in 1:39.78 with German Hilde Greg second in 1:39.95.