<
>

Sweden's Paerson just gets by Vonn of U.S. in Cup downhill

12/15/2007

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland -- Olympic slalom champion Anja
Paerson won her first downhill in almost two years and American
Lindsey Vonn finished second on Saturday.

The Swede completed the Corviglia course in 1 minute, 39.32
seconds in sunny conditions for her first victory this season. Vonn
was 0.08 behind despite nearly falling in the middle section when
her skis hooked up. Maria Riesch of Germany was third, 0.33 back.

"I caught an edge and lost my line a little bit," Vonn said.
"There are two sections you have to nail to be fast -- in the
middle and the lower section. I didn't get it today, but maybe
tomorrow."

Sunday's super-G course is set by U.S. coach Alex Hoedlmoser.

Vonn had her second podium result in three downhill races. Vonn
won the season-opening downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta.

Paerson moved to fourth place on the women's World Cup win list.

"I've always been fast here. I wasn't perfect on my line but
the conditions were simply perfect for me today," Paerson said.
"I'm also finding the motivation that was missing until now. I
really feel like I'm back."

Paerson won the world championship downhill gold last season in
Are, Sweden, but her last World Cup victory in the speed discipline
dated back to a race in March 2006.

The downhill, super-G and combined world champion last season,
Paerson had struggled with motivation early in the season and
hadn't done better than seventh place. Her most recent win came in
the final super-G race last season in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Paerson's 36th career World Cup win moved her into fourth place
with Germany's Katja Seizinger on the all-time victories list.
Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell leads with 62. Switzerland's Vreni
Schneider is second with 55, while Renate Goetschl of Austria, who
was fourth in Saturday's downhill with 1:39.70, has 46 wins.

Paerson finished 18th in the last downhill in Aspen, Colo., a
controversial weather-skewed contest that was called off before 19
competitors were able to race because of fog and poor visibility.
Four others chose not to start.

The weekend's races -- a downhill and a super-G -- were moved to
St. Moritz from Val d'Isere because of a lack of snow at the French
resort.

Technical specialist Marlies Schild of Austria scored no points
on Saturday but still leads the overall standings with 343 points
after nine races. Teammate Nicole Hosp is second with 339. With her
win, Paerson vaulted into third from ninth position (283).

Vonn leads the downhill rankings with 230, ahead of Canadian
Britt Janyk, who is second at 192 and third-placed Goetschl (190).