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Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, Jan. 26, 2002 (AP by Jeff Israely) — Austria’s Renate Goetschl recorded her first downhill victory of the season Saturday in what might have been Picabo Street’s last World Cup race.
U.S. skiers struggled again in the downhill, with Kirsten Clark finishing 13th and Street 19th.
Street was shaky in a downhill she won in 1995 and 1996. Her poor showing in Friday’s super-G left her off the Olympic team in an event she won four years ago in Nagano, Japan.
The 30-year-old Street has qualified for the Olympic downhill and is considering retirement after the Salt Lake City Games. If she does, Saturday’s race would be her last World Cup event. Much of the U.S. team plans to skip next week’s races in Are, Sweden.
Goetschl was timed in 1 minute, 33.66 seconds. She was followed by Isolde Kostner in 1:33.87 and Daniela Ceccarelli in 1:33.99 for her best career finish.
“It’s been a long wait,” said Goetschl, who narrowly missed a win in Friday’s super-G. “I didn’t start the season well, but I’ve been improving race after race and now I’m where I want to be.”
This was the 11th career downhill victory for Goetschl, who won the World Cup title in the event in 1997.
“I was very confident after yesterday,” Goetschl said. “I didn’t need this win to have confidence going into the Olympics, but it’s great to have it.”
Kostner, the defending World Cup downhill champion, maintained her lead in this year’s standings. She has 460 points, with Germany’s Hilde Gerg next at 336.
Gerg, winner of the super-G and the last two World Cup downhills, finished 10th for her poorest downhill finish this season.
Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister came in seventh to keep her lead in the overall standings. She has 776 points, with Gerg at 701. The top American is Kristina Koznick, in seventh place at 467.
The three-day World Cup race ends Sunday with a giant slalom.
It was the final World Cup race for Picabo Street of Park City, UT, whose first World Cup top-10 came in Cortina in 1993.
Cortina is a special place for Street, so saying good-bye to the World Cup had a little extra special meaning for her. In her second full season on the World Cup, she cracked into the top 10 in January 1993 when weather postponements deposited the women racers in Cortina for two weeks. Coach Ernst Hager worked with her, fine-tuning her ability to handle big mountains and boosting her confidence.
When she finished eighth in a Cortina downhill (moved from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany), she was on her way; by season’s end, Street was second in a downhill in Lillehammer. She always credits Hager, who retired after the 1996 season — a winter in which Street won her second World Cup DH title as well as the downhill gold medal and super G bronze at the 1996 World Championships — for his patience and coaching leadership, his skills at crafting ski racers.
FIS CAFE DE COLOMBIA WORLD CUP
Cortina, ITA – Jan. 26
1. Renate Goetschl, Austria, one minute, 33.66 seconds.
2. Isolde Kostner, Italy, 1:33.87.
3. Daniela Ceccarelli, Italy, 1:33.99.
4. Melanie Suchet, France, 1:34.00.
5. Selina Heregger, Austria, 1:34.27
13. Kirsten Clark, United States, 1:34.74.
19. Picabo Street, United States, 1:35.09.
20. Jonna Mendes, United States, 1:35.17.
26. Kathleen Mohahan, United States, 1:35.42.
DNF: Caroline Lalive, United States World Cup Downhill Standings
1. Isolde Kostner, Italy, 460.
2. Hilde Gerg, Germany, 336.
3. Sylviane Berthold, Switzerland, 321.
4. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 308.
5. Michaela Dorfmeister, Austria, 300.
12. Picabo Street, United States, 136.
15. Kirsten L. Clark, United Stats, 121.
19. Caroline Lalive, United States, 68.
27. Jonna Mendes, United States, 39.
34. Katie Monahan, United States, 21.
40. Lindsey Kildow, United States, 7.
Overall WWorld Cup Standings
1. Michaela Dorfmeister, Austria, 776.
2. Hilde Gerg, Germany, 701.
3. Renate Gotschl, Austria, 694.
4. Sonja Nef, Switzerland, 675.
5. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 629.
7. Kristina Koznick, United States, 467.
20. Sarah Schleper, United States, 302.
22. Kirsten Clark, United States, 263.
26. Caroline Lalive, United States, 239.
42. Picabo Street, United States, 136.
58. Jonna Mendes, United States, 83.
71. Kathleen Monahan, United States, 62.
85. Julia Mancuso, United States, 33.
93. Lindsey Kildow, United States, 19.