Munich Parallel Slalom, Jan. 2 With the FIS Alpine World Championships only a month away and 45 minutes down the road in Garmisch, the FIS put together a night parallel slalom in Munich’s Olym- pic Park to promote the Championships and to build the sport by bringing more city dwellers to a live contest. The idea, especially the fact that 100 overall points were in play, received mixed reviews from the racers beforehand. Lindsey Vonn, who like many others had never competed in a World Cup parallel event, in particular, took issue with the points system. “I was a little surprised with how the FIS approached this event,” said Vonn. “The athletes really didn’t have a say in the matter. I think it could have been handled differently.” Whether they liked the idea or not, the top 16 overall men and women couldn’t resist the pull of points and a prize purse of 200,000 Swiss francs. And the FIS saw 20,000 people turn up for the show. Racers worked their way across the bracket by outrunning one opponent at a time, facing off on side-by-side, 18-gate slalom courses. After trading courses, the leader of the first run took her advantage (up to a 0.50-second maximum penalty) into the second run as the trailing racer’s “barge” start gate opened that much later. Between runs, athletes were shuttled back to the top of the course in Audi SUVs while the crowd sang along to Euro-club remixes of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Hey Baby,” and the course became the canvas for a throbbing multicolored light extravaganza. Sweden’s Maria Pietilae-Holmner won the event and the 100 points by plowing through eight runs and outrunning German Viktoria Rebensburg, Vonn, Austrian
Elizabeth Goergl and second-place Tina Maze of Slovenia. Maze was given 80
points for her efforts.
“This is kind of a different event because I had a fall and had a second chance,”
said Pietilae-Holmner, who fell in the first run of her semifinal round against Goergl
and incurred the 0.50-second maximum penalty before taking the second run by a
tenth of a second. “Right now everything is good. I’m happy to be here and stand
here as No. 1.”
Third place went to Goergl after she beat Italy’s Daniela Merighetti (fourth) in both
runs of the small final. Goergl hauled in 60 points while Merighetti took home 50.
All second-round losers (Vonn, Fabienne Suter, Tessa Worley and Anna Fenninger)
shared fifth-place honors and were given 30 points.
Vonn beat out Susanne Riesch by 0.54 seconds in the first round after the two got
identical times in the first run. Fenninger eliminated Julia Mancuso, the only other
American to qualify for the event, in the first round after falling a half second behind
in each run. Mancuso, along with all first-run losers, received 15 points.
Fabienne Suter and Tina Maze
battle it out in Munich.
Maria Pietilae-Holmner goes down
during the first run
of her semifinal
winning the Munich