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BORMIO 2005: U.S. women's team takes the stage on opening day

BORMIO 2005: U.S. women’s team takes the stage on opening dayOnly hours before the opening ceremonies for the 2005 World Championships at Bormio, Italy, members of the U.S. women’s ski team and coaches expressed their confidence about performing in the upcoming events. Kirsten Clark, Resi Stiegler, Caroline Lalive, Julia Mancuso, and Lindsey Kildow, along coaches Patrick Riml and Alex Hoedlmoser, fielded a barrage of questions from the international press corps.

Team veteran, Kirsten Clark, and silver medalist in super G at the 2003 Worlds looks forward to racing the super G, scheduled for Jan 30 and the downhill on Feb. 6. ‘I feel this hill is a great challenge’ said Clark about the Deborah Compagnoni racing trail. ‘We were here a few weeks ago for all four events. There’s a lot of terrain out there; there’s gliding, and there’s pitch. I’m looking forward to racing it.’ Clark, who is just coming back into form after a season’s ending crash last January, refers to her past injury as, ‘ancient history.’

Hoeldmoser likes the chances for the U.S. women. ‘This course has all the speed elements and our athletes are strong technically.’ The course which features some of the fastest speeds on the women’s circuit was made more difficult by the flat light at the early January World Cup races. Hoedlmoser added, ‘Now most of the hill will be in the sun, which should make it easier, although it will still be long and tough. There is just no place to relax.’

Clark will race in both speed events, along with young speed phenom, Lindsey Kildow, and Caroline Lalive, who placed fourth in SG earlier in the season at Altenmarkt, Austria. Julia Mancuso will round out the final U.S. super G quota spot, while in the downhill the fourth slot will be determined in a shoot-out between Jonna Mendes, 2003 World Championship bronze medalist in super G, and rookie Bryna McCarty, based on the fastest times in training.

Regarding any predictions, Lindsey Kildow, who finished second in one of the two downhill races contested earlier this year on this course, said, ‘I don’t have too many expectations; I’m just going to go out there and do the same thing as I’ve been dong in all my races, which is having fun. Maybe a top three, maybe a top five whatever happens, happens.’

According to Kirsten Clark, the team has matured since the 2003 World Championships. ‘This team is strong across the board tech and speed. And that brings confidence to everybody’ said Clark. ‘The aura around the team is positive.’

Caroline Lalive added, ‘The biggest difference is that it’s four years later and there’s a lot of young blood on the team. I was once a rookie and now I’m a veteran. I think it’s great we push each other. It’s a good team atmosphere, which makes us stronger.’

The team may be strong, but the fact that ski racing is an individual sport was not lost on Kildow. ‘Well, obviously at the World Championships you want to be World Champion’ said Kildow in response to a question about what result would give her satisfaction. ‘World Championships are different from World Cup I’ll try not to be disappointed with whatever result I get. I’m just going to go out there and have fun. Whether I get 15th or first I’m going to be OK as long as I gave it all I got.’

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