St. Moritz: Kostelic unfazed by return to site of 1999 knee injury{mosimage}ST. MORITZ, Switzerland – On Thursday, overall World Cup leader Janica Kostelic faced the Corviglia downhill course for the first time since tearing ligaments in her right leg in a crash here six years ago.

Kostelic, who has avoided this annual downhill race and other tricky speed races since the accident, said she had put aside all thoughts of the crash.

“I don’t think about it,” said Kostelic, who finished 13th in the only training run for Saturday’s race. “It was a strange jump at the time and they changed it after I crashed, so it was obvious something was wrong with it.”

The Croat tore four knee ligaments and badly damaged two more during downhill practice in 1999, soaring off an artificial jump and landing precariously on her right leg before falling on her back and ending up in the safety netting.

She was just one of the numerous skiers – along with Switzerland’s Sylviane Berthod, Austria’s Silvia Berger and Kristine Kristiansen of Norway – to tear knee ligaments during that weekend which ended all their seasons.

On Thursday, Kostelic clocked in at 1 minute, 46.18 seconds in training, and said she actually liked the Rominger jump at the bottom of the course.
“It’s nice. It’s not dangerous, you go far and not too high,” Kostelic said. “I like normal jumps. I like far jumps but not high jumps.”

Kostelic did run the downhill leg for the combined event – which she won – at the 2003 World Championships at St. Moritz, but on a different track.

Nicole Hosp of Austria had the fastest time of 1:45.12 in her first World Cup downhill training session. She said she was familiar with the course after winning a lower-tier Europa Cup downhill here last week. Hosp was followed by teammate Michaela Dorfmeister, who clocked 1:45.76. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten was third in 1:45.78, 0.19 seconds ahead of fellow Swiss skier Nadia Styger. Canada’s Allison Forsyth, better known as a technical specialist, was fifth in 1:45.99.

Jonna Mendes was the fastest U.S. skier, finishing sixth in 1:46.01, while her teammate Lindsey Kildow, the winner of two downhills this season, crossed 19th. Kildow was coming off ninth- and 18th-place finishes in last weekend’s back-to-back downhills in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria.

“I wasn’t embarrassed, just disappointed,” Kildow said. “I had a really hard time in Bad Kleinkirchheim. It was really flat with really abrupt turns. I’m glad to be racing somewhere else this week. This course is more my style. There are more open, flowing turns. You can really let the skis go down the fall line.”

Article Tags: Alpine



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