Paerson Wins 3rd Straight Slalom

Paerson 1 25 04

MARIBOR, Slovenia, Jan. 25 2004 (AP by Eugene Brcic) -- Anja Paerson of Sweden won her third straight World Cup slalom Sunday to strengthen her lead in the overall standings.

Paerson, who captured the giant slalom Saturday, has won all but one of the six slaloms this season.

She led after the first run by almost a half second, then stretched the gap to a whopping 1.24 seconds over Austria's Marlies Schild. Another Austrian, Nicole Hosp, was third, 1.35 seconds off the pace. The top U.S. finisher was Kristina Koznick in 17th place.

Delighted by her run, Paerson slumped to the ground as her skis carved through the snow to a standstill at the finish area.

Skiing on an overcast day and in excellent conditions, Paerson won her 17th career title, with six coming at Maribor.

"I like it here," she said. "I have a special bond and it feels just like home."

Paerson leads the overall standings with 998 points, 105 ahead of Austrian speed specialist Renate Goetschl. Hilde Gerg of Germany is third at 768. Koznick is ninth in the standings.

Schild matched her best career result.

"Anja combined two perfect runs today," she said. "We made mistakes."

Hosp, enjoying her best season on the circuit, was more than satisfied after a spill in the giant slalom a day earlier.

"Everything is hurting, my neck, my back, my shoulder, my knee," she said. "But I tried to forget this."

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