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Lalive to Compete in All Four Events


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St. Moritz, Switzerland Dec. 19, 2001 (AP by Rob Gloster)–Caroline Lalive won’t give up her quest to compete in several Alpine skiing events at the Winter Olympics, despite concerns she was trying to do too much.

Lalive, speaking as part of a U.S. team conference call from Europe, said Wednesday a third-place finish in a super-giant slalom race at Lake Louise, Alberta, earlier this month has helped her remain confident she can compete in all the events at Salt Lake City.

The start of the season was tough for Lalive, 22, who’s from Truckee, Calif., but lives in Steamboat Springs, Colo. She struggled in two races in Copper Mountain, Colo., that opened the World Cup season over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Lalive was not among the 30 fastest who qualified for the second run of a giant slalom there. She slammed into a gate and crashed on the first run of a slalom and was left with a black eye, a broken nose and battered confidence.

Those disappointments led Lalive and her coaches to wonder whether she should abandon her quest to compete in four separate races _ downhill, slalom, giant slalom and super-G _ as well as the combined event at the Winter Olympics.

Because of her versatility, she is considered a medal contender in the combined event, which includes downhill and slalom races.

“I definitely started the season a little frustrated. It has been an uphill battle,” she said during a break from training for downhill and super G races this Friday and Saturday in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

“I’m really pleased with my podium (in Lake Louise). I’ve got my confidence back. I’ll still keep shooting for the four.”

Lalive and downhiller Kirsten Clark said they were saddened by a pair of recent tragedies on the slopes _ the death of France’s Regine Cavagnoud in a training accident and a World Cup downhill crash that left Swiss skier Silvano Beltrametti paralyzed _ but said they could not let the crashes affect their racing.

“I definitely think the accidents that happened earlier this season, it makes you think a little bit more, it makes you more aware of things that are going on,” Clark said. “It’s tough when you’re a ski racer and you’re going 60-70 miles per hour down the course. I have to concentrate on what I have to do.”

Lalive agreed that skiers have to put such events out of their minds and be confident in themselves, their coaches and the safety preparations of race officials.

“It’s definitely been a rough start for the ski racing World Cup tour, losing Regine and then Beltrametti. But I think that, like when Dale Earnhardt passed away, we are in a sport that risk is involved.

“It’s a reality check, but you have to remain focused on your task. If we let fear or doubt invade our minds, we wouldn’t be able to do our jobs anymore or have fun.”

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press