Pärson back on the podium

December 19th, 2008

Sweden’s skiing superstar Anja Paerson won her first competition this season at St Moritz where she clinched a Super-combined event on Friday and grabbed her 39th World Cup victory ten years after her first triumph in a slalom at Mammoth Mountain, in California.

The winner of eight Olympic and World Championships Gold medals set the fastest time in the Super-G leg in the morning and achieved a strong slalom run in the afternoon to clearly beat by 1,12 seconds Austria’s Nicole Hosp.

Maria Riesch, the defending Super-G World Cup champion, was 4th missing the podium by only 10/100 – mostly because of a mistake in her morning Super-G run.

5th consecutive victory for Paerson in Switzerland

A two-time winner here last winter in downhill and Super-G, Anja Paerson has been close to the podium in several occasions this winter in the speed events at Lake Louise but also in slalom at La Molina. The Scandinavian said she skied smartly in the slalom to preserve the lead to claim her second Super-combined win this year. Interestingly enough, Paerson celebrated all her last five World Cup wins in Switzerland!

Last spring, the 27-year-old clinched a Super-combined event at Crans-Montana to become one of the only four skiers having excelled in all World Cup disciplines. She also managed to win gold in all events from 2001 to 2007!

This latest win is particularly meaningful for the two-time Overall World Cup champion since she changed her ski and boots supplier last spring, switching to Head.

In fact, the champion from Taernaby was truly elate and beaming after the race. “It’s always nice to get the first season win under your belt, I have been struggling so far and I needed such a result to regain all my confidence and my momentum,” she explained after the slalom with a big smile in her face.

"I just tried to do a smooth run, nothing special," also said Paerson who won the World Championships giant slalom here in 2003. "I feel very rested. It's nearly like a home race for me. It's the snow, also the hotel where we stay. So many things that are very important to me so that everything clicks. Coming here it’s always a place where I know I am going to get energy."

Ready for the win!

“I was sort of ready for this win. My slalom is much better now than it has been in the past season. At Lake Louise, I skied well during our downhill training and I was very fast again in the Super-G there prior making that huge mistake in the last big turn. It was mostly a matter of time putting all the pieces together and going for it. The key for me is to be very focused and strongly motivated.”

“Last season has been tough for me and my group. I only seldom found my best rhythm. I need to be determined and aggressive to move at my best level. My change of equipment certainly helped me a lot. It was nice to be working with new people on my equipment and looking for new solutions. It was interesting too,” also commented Paerson who is happy to receive the support from a former downhill coach of Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal. He helps her a lot to better organize her training and racing programs and then to give her best on race day.

St Moritz could well become another turning point for the Swede who may soon regain her former position as ‘skier to beat’ in the battle for the Overall World Cup crown!