US Women Win Disabled World Cup Slaloms in Breckenridge

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Breckenridge, CO Dec. 9 - Sarah Will (Vail, CO) won for the secondstraight day, Csilla Kristof (Las Vegas) led a 1-2-3 podium sweep byU.S. racers and Theresa Fancher (Omak, WA) took the blind categoryThursday in slalom at the Chevy Truck Disabled World Cup, the inauguralset of official disabled World Cup races.

In the stand-up class, Kristof - born without a left forearm - had thefastest time on both runs and won in an adjusted 1:50.06. Mary Riddell(Dove Creek, CO), who lost her right leg at birth and was the winnerWednesday of the second sprint DH, took second place in 1:51.37; SarahBillmeier (Yarmouth, ME), whose left leg was amputated because of cancerwhen she was a youngster, was third with a time of 1:52.43.

"Today was really good. The conditions were really nice. The course heldup well," Kristof said. "I was concentrating on what the coaches havebeen telling me...concentrating on being aggressive, on leaning forward.Overall, I liked the second run better - I was late for the first runand it was a scramble, but the second run was definitely better."

Gerd Schoenfelder of Germany won the men's stand-up class in an adjusted1:34.72. Daniel Kosick (Binghamton, NY), who lost his right leg tocancer when he was 15, had the best American result, finishing fourth in1:40.76.

Will, paralyzed in a 1988 skiing accident, was the runaway leader ofboth runs in the women's mono-ski class to win by more than five secondswith an adjusted time of 1:52.30. Canadian Daniel Wesley again won themen's mono-ski class, this time by nearly six seconds with a 1:37.00clocking. Chris Waddell (Granby, MA/Park City, Utah), also paralyzed ina 1988 ski mishap, is recovering from a heavy cold which has hobbled himfor 10 days but finished third in 1:43.96 while Joe Tompkins (Juneau,AK), who broke his back in a 1988 car accident, was 10th.

"Sunny day, good snow and definitely a good race...but too long. I waslooking for oxygen midway down the course," muttered a smiling Waddell."Conditions were awesome and it was a really good competition. In thedisabled ranks, things are getting more difficult for everybody. Thereare new people at the top and that's good."

Fancher, the only blind woman, had a two-run time of 2:19.83. BlindCanadian Chris Williamson won his third straight men's race, finishingin 1:42.36. Bobby McMullen (Redding, CA), who lost most of his visionbecause of diabetes in the early Nineties when he was in law school,added a second place to his two third-place results; his time was1:48.66.

U.S. Coach Ewald Zirbisegger said he was pleased with the overallimprovement from his team, especially the continued strong skiing fromthe women and Waddell's comeback despite the nagging cold. "It's greatto have official World Cups now, but as I said at the start of the week,I'm looking for our skiers to be moving toward a 'peak' at the WorldChampionships next month. We've had good results - terrific from Sarah,who's also been sick, and the other girls. And some sparks from theguys. Now we want to keep building," he said.

Beginning with this season, the International Ski Federation hasauthorized a disabled World Cup. The Chevy Truck events, which havebrought about 80 skiers from a dozen nations to Breckenridge, are thefirst official disabled World Cup races. In disabled races, athletescompete in three distinct classes - blind, mono-ski and stand-up; afactoring system designed to equalize disabilities is used to calculatea racer's time.