Women's SG at Snowbasin: Ceccarelli Speeds to Gold

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Snowbasin, UT Feb. 17, 2002--In the final Olympic Winter Games event at Snowbasin Ski Area, Kirsten Clark (Raymond, Maine) posted the best U.S. result as she finished 14th in the super G Sunday.

Italian Daniela Ceccarelli won the gold with a time of 1:13.59 and was followed by Croatian Janica Kostelic (1:13.64) and Italy's Karen Putzer (1:13.86).

Clark recorded a 1:15.13 to take 14th. Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, Calif.) was 16th (1:15.25) and Katie Monahan (Aspen, Colo.) followed closely in 17th (1:15.59).

Clark, who started 13th, had a solid run going out of the start and found herself just .04 behind the leader at the first intermediate. She then had a bobble mid way down the course, which caused one of her skis to get up into the air. As a result, she could hold no speed through the bottom sections.

"I knew that mistake that I made halfway down that it wasn't good enough, but that's just how super G is," said Clark. "You've got to go and you've got to charge. You just get one inspection in the morning and trust it with your instincts. I was definitely charging, and it just didn't pay off."

Mendes, who finished 11th in the downhill, came out of the start gate on fire and blazed through the top and middle sections. However, she could not carry that to the finish line.

"I was so nervous up there," said Mendes. "As soon as I got on the course, I could feel it, that I was skiing well. That was so good for me because I usually don't battle nerves."

Monahan had a solid run all the way down, but it simply wasn't fast enough to compete with the leaders.

For the third time during these Games, Snowbasin got the best of Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), one of the top chances for a U.S. medal. Lalive did not finish her super G run, much like her downhill run and first slalom run of the combined event.

"It was definitely a technical set," said Lalive. "They caught me right over that Draba Drop, and that's the demon in super G is that you have to give it your all and sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn't."

"Draba Drop," said Lalive. "I was skiing really well up until that point, and got low in my line and I think I just lost speed going across those meadows and it was tough to make that back up."

"It's unfortunate...she is such a great skier," said Clark on Lalive's problems. "She has proven herself on the World Cup circuit and there's no doubt in my mind that she is capable of winning races. Everyone sort of has their ups and downs at different times for different reasons, so we've all experienced it. It's just part of the sport of ski racing, and we just have to fight our way up there and start doing it again."

"I gotta keep fighting, keep charging with the girls, keep trying to make the team better," said U.S. coach Marjan Cernigoj. "I think we're going to let this one sit. I think we're gonna try to regroup for the World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland after the Olympics."

The next women's alpine race is the slalom, Wednesday, February 20 at Deer Valley Resort in Park City. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m.

2002 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES
February 17, 2002
Women's Super G
Snowbasin, Utah

1. Daniela Ceccarelli, Italy (1:13.59)
2. Janica Kostelic, Croatia (1:13.64)
3. Karen Putzer, Italy (1:13.86)

--

14. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, Maine (1:15.13)
16. Jonna Mendes, Heavenly, Calif. (1:15.25)
17. Katie Monahan, Aspen, Colo. (1:15.59)
DNF Caroline Lalive, Steamboat Springs, Colo.