Are, Sweden March 8, 2001 (USSA)--Megan Gerety (Anchorage, AK), who as fifth in her first World Cup race in 1991, did it again Thursday, finishing fifth in downhill as the World Cup Finals got underway in flat light and 25-degree weather. Hilde Gerg of Germany won the race and Italian Isolde Kostner won the DH title.
Outdoor Life Network will broadcast coverage of the women's DH tonight at 10 EST.
Gerg, the 1998 Olympic slalom champion who dropped slalom and GS this season to relieve the strain on a reconstructed knee, was timed in 1:16.56 with Kostner runnerup in 1:16.87. When defending World Cup champion Renate Goetschl of Austria skied out at midway through her run, Kostner took the downhill title. With three races left, Goetschl 39 points back of Croatian Janica Kostelic.
Gerety was fifth with a time of 1:17.36 and Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) tied for ninth in 1:17.69. Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA) was 19th and Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME), who won the last previous DH Feb. 24 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, finished 21st.
"The girls skied well. We all knew going in that small mistakes would cost you because it's a short course and there's no place to make-up time, but all of them were charging," said DH/SG Head Coach Jim Tracy. "I'm proud of 'em, the girls and the service crew and reps...everybody. It's been a great year and next season will be even better.
"It's too bad we didn't race Wednesday, as originally scheduled - until the men lost their training run Tuesday because it was a beautiful day, but that decision was out of our hands. Today, the light really got flat, but I was pleased to see Megan attacking," Tracy said, "because she doesn't normally do well in flat light, but she let it go today; she's been fifth so many times and this was anotherone. I'm more disappointed about not racing Wednesday than I am about anything today because they didn't hold back."
Clark will be the lone U.S. skier Friday in the women's super G before the schedule turns to the technical events for the weekend, slalom Saturday and giant slalom Sunday. The women's speed team heads home Saturday for a day or two of rest before the Chevy Truck Super Series next week with a World Cup-level field expected to get their first runs on the Olympic downhill course at Snowbasin, near Ogden, Utah. "Most of these Europeans are planning on being there," Tracy said. And then come the Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships, which begin March 23 at Big Mountain, Mont.