leads timely Austrian downhill recovery
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[January 11, 2014]
By Patrick Lang
ALTENMARKT, Austria (Reuters) — Eclipsed
by Lindsey Vonn in recent seasons, Austrian downhill skiers struck back
in Altenmarkt when veteran Elisabeth Goergl led up-and-coming Anna
Fenninger in a home one-two on Saturday.
Goergl, the 2011 world champion in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, was the
last Austrian winner of a downhill almost exactly two years ago,
also on home snow in Bad Kleinkirchheim.
Hampered by health problems, she has struggled for form since and
started with the number 28 bib on her back as Fenninger was ready to
celebrate her first downhill victory.
But the honors finally went to the 32-year-old skier fondly known at
home as "Lizz", who won in one minute and 47.45 seconds, beating her
24-year-old compatriot by 0.56 seconds.
"To be honest I'm a little bit surprised myself, but it's a piste
that suits me and I went for it with boldness and no pressure,"
Goergl told reporters after her fifth World Cup victory.
Vonn's announcement this week that she would not defend her title in
Sochi due to injury has left the race for Olympic gold wide open.
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Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch, winner of the two downhills
held in Lake Louise in December was a solid third, 0.63 adrift
ahead of in-form Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein.
Nicole Hosp, the erratic 2007 World Cup champion, completed the
Austrian recovery in fifth place.
The other two winners of a downhill this season are Swiss Lara
Gut and Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden, who finishes 11th and 8th
But experience is on Goergl's side as she won two bronze medals
in Vancouver four years ago and proved that the Garmisch worlds,
where she sang a song at the opening ceremony before winning two
golds, had not been her swan song.
(Reporting by Patrick Lang; editing by Ed Osmond)
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