Riesch Takes Downhill; Clark Crashes

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Riesch 1 03 04

HAUS IM ENNSTAL, Austria, Jan. 30 2004 (AP) -- Maria Riesch of Germany won a downhill Friday for her first World Cup victory, and Kirsten Clark of the United States broke her arm and tore knee ligaments after crashing on one of the circuit's most demanding slopes.

Riesch was timed in 1 minute, 39.30 seconds on the Krummholz run. Italy's Isolde Kostner was second in 1:39.76 and Austria's Renate Goetschl finished third in 1:39.78 to keep her downhill standings lead.

"It was tough, very tough, but everything worked out for me today," Riesch said. "I told myself today to keep cool and take it easy. I felt I was quick, but I did certainly not expect to finish top."

Hilde Gerg of Germany placed fourth, ahead of Bryna McCarty of the United States, who recorded her first top 10 result.

Clark fell shortly after a jump. She slid down the slope at high speed and her skis caught a safety fence. She was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Schladming and diagnosed with a broken right arm and torn ligaments in her left knee.

The 27-year-old skier from Raymond, Maine, was runner-up in the super giant slalom at the 2003 world championships. She was the third U.S. skier to crash at the same spot Friday, joining Lindsay Kildow and Libby Ludlow.

Clark's crash was the third bad accident on the slope in three days. Germany's Regina Haeusl and Austria's Ingrid Rumpfhuber were injured during practice and are sidelined for the rest of the season.

Goetschl said the high speeds skiers reach there may lead to accidents.

"Because our downhills are not as complicated as the men's, we can attack on every turn," she said. "This makes us a lot faster and the jumps are more dangerous."

Overall World Cup leader Anja Paerson of Sweden did not race because of the flu. Paerson has 998 points, followed by Goetschl with 953 and Gerg with 818. Riesch moved up to ninth place.

Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press