February 20, 2006
SAN SICARIO, Italy (AP by Bob Baum)—Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister won her second gold medal of the Turin Games on Monday and Janica Kostelic of Croatia became the most decorated woman in Olympic Alpine skiing history with a silver in the super-G.
Dorfmeister, the last of the top 30 skiers out of the gate, overcame a course softened by the sun to finish in 1 minute, 32.47 seconds. It was enough to edge Kostelic by .27 seconds.
The 24-year-old Kostelic’s silver was her sixth Olympic medal _ a record four of them gold _ and her second these games. No other woman Alpine skier has more than five in her career.
Kostelic, fighting off illness throughout these games, was prepared to sit out the race to rest after winning the storm-delayed combined on Saturday, but decided to ski after bad weather postponed the race from Sunday to Monday. She felt well enough to do a handstand at the starting gate.
Austria’s Alexandra Meissnitzer won the bronze, .59 behind the 32-year-old Dorfmeister, who is retiring after this season. It was Meissnitzer’s third Olympic medal _ the 32-year-old Austrian won silver in the giant slalom and bronze in the super-G at the 1998 Nagano Games.
Lindsey Kildow was the top American in seventh place.
As Dorfmeister entered these Olympics, a gold medal was the only award missing from her impressive career. She’s taken care of that and then some, also winning gold in last week’s downhill.
At the finish, Dorfmeister was hugged by Kostelic, then stared at the scoreboard in disbelief and asked her challenger if it was true she had won. It was a moment of mutual respect for two of the greatest skiers in the world.
Both knew they had to fight off the conditions. To compensate for the softening snow, both stayed in their “tuck” positions to gain maximum speed virtually the entire course.
Monday’s race was delayed nearly 27 hours by a storm that dumped 10 inches of snow on this postcard-gorgeous section of the Italian Alps near the French border.
The course had come under heavy criticism last year from skiers who said it was too easy. Many top women skiers signed a petition to move the race to the men’s venue in nearby Sestriere. Dorfmeister was one of the leaders of the protest.
Organizers responded by enlarging the jumps and adding bumps and rolling terrain over the summer, conditions that obviously suited Dorfmeister just fine.
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press