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Anzere, Switzerland Jan. 31–Roommates Mary Riddell (Dove Creek, CO;LW-4) and Sarah Billmeier (Yarmouth, ME; LW-2) – the last two skiers to race – picked off gold and silver medals Monday in super G at the World Alpine Disabled Championships.
A day after snow and rain pelted the region, forcing a one-day delay inthe women’s SG, the sun came out and bathed the course, creating soft and tricky underfooting. Riddell – whose right leg was amputated at birth – was flagged-off the course about eight gates from the finishbecause of problems on the final steep pitch. She returned to the start and tore through the course to win the combined (LW-1, -3, 4, 5/7, 6/8, 9) category in an adjusted time of 1:24.07. Jennifer Kelchner (Cazenovia, NY; LW-4) was fourth with Lee Joiner (Red Lodge, MT; LW-9) fifth and Csilla Kristof (Las Vegas; LW-6/8) sixth.
In the only other women’s standing class, LW-2 – for one-legged skiers,Billmeier – who was flagged off Friday and returned to win gold indownhill – took the silver medal behind Austrian Nicola Lechner. Thewinning time was 1:37.81 and Billmeier, a Dartmouth College student, who lost her left leg above the knee to cancer as a child, finished in1:38.99.
“They have an awesome course slip crew here,” Riddell said, “but every time they go down, and it was after just about every racer, thelittle bumps seemed to get bigger and bigger and bigger….I knew it’dbe rough and I felt if i got a race report I might back off inattacking the course, so I didn’t get any race report. My inspectionwas all of about 15 minutes and told my self, ‘Just keep looking aheadbecause you don’t know what’s gonna be up there’…
“It’s a great course, but today was a rollercoaster – it seems you’regoing 30-40 miles an hour right out of the start, and there are turnsand steep at the end…I skied 29th,” Riddell continued, “and I gotflagged off going into the final section. So, I skied down and went backup in the gondola. I was taking my time, drinking some water and nowhurrying. But Sarah was in the start gate as I was coming up and there’s a rule that the last skier can’t go until all the re-starts are done, so she’s got to wait about a half-hour, and then they finally told me I had to go…so, we’ve both been flagged off and we’ve gone on to win the gold, so something’s working.”
Billmeier smiled and said the re-starts have been “weird” but sometimes can’t be helped. “We got slush Sunday and today was soft and wet. It’s a really good hill, lots of fun – but today it was a rodeo – and so hot. I was sweating in my downhill suit,” she said.
So, Billemeier has a gold and a silver, Riddell – who was fifth in DH(“I still haven’t figured out that event”) – has a gold. Double goldTuesday in giant slalom for the roommates? Said Riddell, “We’re working on it.”
The alpine championships continue Tuesday with GS for the women and men blind skiers. With 30-plus women and 100-plus men, team captains agreed to shift the blind men to the women’s GS race day to accelerate the men’s GS Wednesday. Competition is by class (blind, standing,mono-skiers), so all the blind will compete under the same conditions.
One ridgeline over, the nordic disabled championships resume Tuesday in Crans Montana with the short-distance races.
World Alpine Disabled Championships
Anzere, SUI – Jan. 31
Women’s Super G
1. Nicola Lechner, Austria, 1:37.81
2. Sarah Billmeier, Yarmouth, Maine, 1:38.99
3. Marie-Chantal Manenc, France, 1:46.20
Combined (LW-1, -3, -4, 5/7, 6/8, 9)
(All times adjusted)
1. Mary Riddell, LW-4, Dove Creek, Colo., 1:24.07
2. Karolina Wisniewska, LW-3, Canada, 1:27.39
3. Rachael Battersby, LW-6/8, New Zealand, 1:28.77
4. Jennifer Kelchner, LW-4, Cazenovia, N.Y., 1:29.29
5. Lee Joiner, LW-9, Red Lodge, Mont., 1:33.61
6. Csilla Kristof, LW-6/8, Las Vegas, 1:34.36
(All times adjusted)
1. Katerina Tepla, B-3, Czech Republic, 1:25.56
2. Gabrielle Huemer, B-2, Ausstria, 1:29.53
3. Sabina Rogie, B-3, Czech Republic, 1:42.27
5. Theresa Fancher, B-2, Omak, Wash., 1:55.61
(All times adjusted)
1. Vreni Stoeckli, LW-11, Switzerland, 1:34.27
2. Beata Wachowiak.Zwara, LW-11, Poland, 1:57.43
3. Agata Struzik, LW-11, Poland, 1:58.83
DNF: Muffy Davis, LW-10, Sun Valley, Idaho; Sarah Will, LW-11, Vail,