Saturday, March 1, 2003
Swiss skier posts fastest runs in South Korea
YONGPYONG, South Korea -- A big win Saturday has Michael Von
Gruenigen on pace to regain the World Cup giant slalom title.
Von Gruenigen beat Frederic Covili and Bode Miller to win the
giant slalom on the Yongpyong resort's Rainbow course and increase
his lead in the standings.
The 31-year-old Von Gruenigen clinched the victory with a
two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 26.68 seconds. Covili was 0.17
behind, while Miller was 0.32 back.
Von Gruenigen's third giant slalom win of the season increased
his lead over Miller in the overall giant slalom standings from 57
to 97 points. Von Gruenigen also won two of this season's giant
slalom races with victories in Val d'Isere, France, and Park City,
The Swiss star won the giant slalom world title in 1997 and
Saturday's races were delayed for one hour as officials cleared
four inches of snow that fell overnight.
Covili's best finish of the season before Saturday had been
second place in Soelden, Austria, last October. On Saturday, the
Frenchman recorded the fastest time of 1:13.41 in the first run.
But it wasn't enough to win. A victorious Von Gruenigen kissed
his skies as Covili crossed the finish line in the second run for a
combined time of 2:26.85.
Von Gruenigen moves into 11th place in the overall World Cup
standings after his victory.
Stephen Eberharter of Switzerland leads the overall standings,
followed by Miller and Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt. Eberharter,
who aimed to gain points in the technical events, came in 23rd on
Ivica Kostelic of Croatia did not finish the first run. He leads
the slalom title race by 100 points over Finland's Kalle Palander
and could almost clinch a World Cup victory with a win Sunday.
Austria's Hermann Maier did not compete at Yongpyong. He has had
a nail surgically removed from the leg he almost lost in a
motorcycle crash in 2001.
This Asian resort is staging two technical events for the Word
Cup -- the slalom and giant slalom.