Goetschl Wins DH Finals, Title

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Goetschl 03 10 04

SESTRIERE, Italy, Mar. 10 2004 (AP by Andrew Dampf) -- Austria's Renate Goetschl won her third World Cup downhill title Wednesday, finishing first in the final race of the season.

Goetschl covered the 1.83-mile Kandahar course in 1 minute, 45.01 seconds and moved within 73 points of Sweden's Anja Paerson in the overall standings. Paerson did not compete in the downhill.

Switzerland's Sylviane Berthod was second, 0.35 seconds back, and Italy's Isolde Kostner finished third, 0.52 seconds behind the winner.

Germany's Hilde Gerg, Goetschl's closest challenger for the downhill title, finished ninth.

Goetschl completed her run before Gerg and when she saw her rival's result, began jumping up and down with excitement in the finish area.

Last season, Goetschl finished second to countrywoman Michaela Dorfmeister in the downhill standings. She won the event 1997 and '99.

It was Goetschl's third downhill victory of the season. She also won at Moritz in December and Veysonnaz in January. She has three more races at the World Cup Finals: super giant slalom, slalom and giant slalom.

The super-G is scheduled for Thursday, while the slalom and giant slalom are slated for Saturday and Sunday.

Paerson has already clinched the slalom and giant slalom titles and is the favorite in each of those races. Goetschl needs another strong finish in super-G to have a chance of winning the overall title for the second time.

Goetschl won the overall in 1999-2000. Paerson is trying for her first title.

American Lindsey Kildow, who posted the fastest training time Monday, lost control going over a bump and slid down the course on her back. She crashed through a gate before coming to a stop, but did not appear to be seriously injured.

Germany's Isabelle Huber landed awkwardly on a jump and pulled up midway through her run.

Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press