Aamodt, Running Out of Time and Opportunity

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Chamonix, France, Jan. 10 (AP by Erica Bulman)--Kjetil Andre Aamodt has 13 world championship and Olympic medals.

He has worn the coveted overall World Cup crown as skiing's best all-round racer and has a resume that includes 16 World Cup wins.

The boyish Aamodt isn't greedy or anything, but he was frustrated Sunday when Angelo Weiss, a 30-year-old journeyman who had no previous Top 3 World Cup finishes, took the one thing the 28-year-old Norwegian wants more than anything else _ a World Cup slalom victory.

The Italian, seventh after the opening leg, snatched the victory away from Aamodt, making the Norwegian wonder if he'll ever reach his final career goal.

After trying for over a decade, that one win has proved even more elusive for Aamodt than it was for Weiss, an eight-year veteran of the World Cup circuit.

``I'm very disappointed,'' said Aamodt, visibly dejected after finishing runner-up behind Weiss. ``After 10 years on the circuit, it would have been nice to win a World Cup race in every discipline.

``But I had my chance, and I blew it.''

The Norwegian came agonizingly close to finally snaring the slalom, taking the lead in the opening leg.

But delivering a cautious second run, Aamodt saw his opportunity disappear as he watched Weiss climb onto the top step of the podium above him.

A victory in Sunday's slalom would have given Aamodt entrance into the exclusive club of skiers with wins in all five alpine disciplines, recording his name in the history books alongside Luxembourg's Marc Girardelli, Pirmin Zurbriggen of Switzerland and Austria's Guenther Mader, who last accomplished the feat in 1996.

A multi-Olympic and world champion, whose crowning season came back in 1994 when he claimed the coveted World Cup overall crystal globe, Aamodt is feeling he'll never attain his goal.

At 28, Aamodt is worried that time and opportunity might be running out.

``I think this weekend in Wengen will be my 100th World Cup slalom race,'' said Aamodt, shaking his head. ``I won't get that many opportunities to win anymore.

``I've had some really good results and I'm proud of what I've achieved in the Olympics and world championships,'' said Aamodt, who hopes to continue skiing on the circuit a few more years. ``But I still have something to prove in the World Cup. I hope to reach some records in the World Cup.''

Lately, Aamodt's chances have been getting fewer and farther between.

The winner of 15 career World Cup events, Aamodt has not won since taking a giant slalom in Adelboden in 1997, claiming only paper victories in three combined events over the last three years.

``When I think about it, it gets frustrating,'' said Aamodt, whose second place in Sunday's slalom, added to his 10th place in Saturday's downhill _ a paper victory in the weekend's combined event. ``I enjoy being an all-round skier, especially before when I was winning the in super-G and the giant slalom.

``But it's been a long time since I won a race that was not a combined event,'' he said. ``I would like some more victories, but it looks like either I don't have enough talent or I'm doing something wrong. I just can't seem to win.''

Last season, Aamodt reached the Top 10 in 28 of 35 races, finishing just shy of victory four times and third place three times.

Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press