Mendes makes rare GS run
March 7, 2003
ARE, Sweden — While Anja Paerson was earning her first World Cup victory in her home country, Jonna Mendes of South Lake Tahoe was making her first GS start of the season.
Mendes finished 28th.
The top American was Kristina Koznick in 10th place, one spot from her career best in the giant slalom, achieved in Are last year. Sara Schleper finished 17th and Kirsten Clark 20th.
Paerson earned her first World Cup victory in her home country Thursday night, edging two Italians on the circuit’s only lighted giant slalom course.
The Swede did one of her customary belly flops in the finish area, skidding a couple of yards before getting up to salute thousands of cheering fans.
“It was really a joy to win here tonight, to show the fans,” Paerson said. “The atmosphere was great.”
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Croatia’s Janica Kostelic was sixth, enough to clinch the World Cup overall title with five races left.
Paerson, the world champion, was followed by Daniela Merighetti and Denise Karbon.
This was Paerson’s best career finish. She has 11 career World Cup wins in slalom and the giant slalom.
Paerson, second in this event in 2001 and 2002, was timed in 2 minutes, 29.88 seconds on the Gastrappet course, beating Merighetti by 0.12 seconds. Karbon, a silver medalist behind Paerson in the worlds, was 0.14 behind.
This was Paerson’s third straight World Cup win in the giant slalom and her fourth straight victory in the discipline counting the worlds.
“I’ve always seen myself as a slalom skier, but I’ve come through this season in the GS,” she said.
Merighetti skied an excellent second run, vaulting from 29th place. She was more than two seconds off the pace in the opening run.
“I had nothing to lose in the second run,” Merighetti said. “This kind of course, with a lot of gliding, is perfect for me.”
Martina Ertl of Germany placed fourth while first-run leader Britt Janyk of Canada dropped to fifth.
Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, the defending overall champion, skied off the course. Teammate Nicole Hosp sustained minor knee and arm injuries when she fell near the finish.
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