KVITFJELL, Norway (March 12 - USSA News Release) - Renate Goetschl of Austria captured the last World Cup downhill of the season Wednesday, teammate Michaela Dorfmeister clinched the World Cup DH title and Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) finished third to move up a notch to third place in the final standings, the best U.S. performance since 1996.
Goetschl, rebounding from a broken left leg and torn knee ligament after the 2002 Olympics, had a time of 1:35.32 on the windy Olympic course from 1994; she won two of the last three DHs and moved into second place in the points behind Dorfmeister, who also had two victories this winter.
Ingrid Jacquemod of France was second in 1:35.64, just .03 ahead of Clark, the Carrabassett Valley academy grad who had four World Cup downhill top-3s (and the World Championships super G silver medal), who said the wind "was blowing around a bit up there."
U.S. Women's Downhill Head Coach Jim Tracy hugged Clark and said, "It was a super good day. 'Clarky' stuck her nose in it today; she was going for it. There was a lot at stake and she wasn't holding back. I'm really proud of her."
Clark's third-place finish in the standings is the best for a U.S. woman since Picabo Street - who was silver medalist in downhill in Kvitfjell in '94 - won the 1996 World Cup DH crown. Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA), the only other American in the first of four days of racing at World Cup Finals, finished 22nd.
CLARK: "…AWESOME DAY. I HAD TO…I GOT…""It was an awesome day," said Clark. "I had to stand on the podium to move up in the standings — and I got both, so I'm pretty happy."
Pointing to Thursday's super G, she noted, "The weekend isn't over. I still have tomorrow."
Enjoying her best World Cup season, with four top-3s in downhills and that third in the final points, she added, "This season has been great for me in the downhill. I had a couple races in St. Moritz and Innsbruck, which didn't go as I would have liked, but to be third in the standings is all right, and I'm gunning for the title next year.
"I need to put on a little more weight to have a little more mass to carry me down the slope. When it comes to the technical sections, I'm one of the best out there."
CROSS-POLLINATION IN SUCCESS
The success by the men's team, especially Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), who's in the running for the first overall title by an American in 20 years, and Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), who was second in the final DH standings and collected his seventh podium of the season a short time before the women ran, washes back and forth with the women's program, according to Clark.
"It's great to be on the U.S. Ski Team right now. All the motivation from the men's (success) carries over to the women's, with Daron and Bode doing well. It's a lot of fun to be on the U.S. team right now, with a lot of team spirit."
The winds seemed to die down for the women's race, a short time after Antoine Deneriaz won the men's downhill — with American Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) completing the finest DH season for an American man with his seventh podium. "The winds were still gusting — everyone got hit," Tracy said.
"The weather was beautiful but it was just windy."
He said Mendes "went a little too straight in one spot" or she would have had a better result and might have gotten more World Cup points. At World Cup Finals, with the smaller fields of racers, points are awarded only to 15th place.
The women run super G Thursday before a weather day Friday and tech events on the weekend. Next week, they compete at the Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships at Whiteface Mountain outside Lake Placid, NY.
FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
World Cup Finals
Kvitfjell, NOR — March 12
1. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 1:35.32
2. Ingrid Jacquemod, France, 1:35.65
3. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME, 1:35.67
4. Daniela Ceccarelli, Italy, 1:35.95
5. Melanie Turgeon, Canada, 1:37.52
22. Jonna Mendes, Heavenly,, CA, 1:37.52
World Cup Standings
Women's Overall (3 races remaining)
1. Janica Kostelica, Croatia — 1,552 points
2. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 957
3. Dorfmeister, 927
4. Karen Putzer, Italy, 900
5. Carole Montillet, France, 843
9. Clark, 607
18. Caroline Lalive, Steamboat Springs, CO, 325
22. Mendes, 283
24. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 268
38T. Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, MN, 169
44. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 159
65T. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 64
82T. Katie Monahan, Aspen, CO, 39
91. Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY, 24
105T. Alison Powers, Winter Park, CO, 8
110T. Bryna McCarty, Concord, VT, 6
118T. Lindsey C. Kildow, Vail, CO, 3
Women's Downhill (Final — 6 races)
1. Dorfmeister, 372
2. Goetschl, 368
3. Clark, 316
4. Montillet, 313
5. Corinne Rey Bellet, Switzerland, 230
16. Mendes, 113
18. Lalive, 90
27. Mancuso, 44
35. Ludlow, 16
36T. Monahan, 14
42. Powers, 8
43. McCarty, 6
47T. Kildow, 3