Jones, Meier & Washburn crack top ten in slalom
WHISTLER CREEKSIDE, B.C., Canada - Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Monte Meier (Park City, Utah) and Brad Washburn (Winter Park, Colo.) finished among the top ten in Monday's Slalom-Standing event. Jones, the defending Paralympic Slalom gold medalist, was the USA's top finisher, coming in fifth place among women after closing her first run in seventh position. Five-time Paralympian Meier, who has said he will retire from ski racing after this year, moved up from 11th to finish in eighth place and two-time Paralympian Washburn, who was eighth after the first run, got bumped by Meier and finished in ninth place.
"Today was a tough day with real unique conditions with a lot of moisture," said U.S. Paralympic Team coach Ray Watkins. "The courses were deteriorated. Allison Jones was in the worst possible spot that you could be in a Paralympic Games. The first run she really wasn't herself. She needed to be firing on all cylinders in both runs. It didn't happen. She had a great second run. Good for her on that and I'm sure she's going to use this day as motivation to come back and kick (butt) the rest of the time."
"The first run I didn't like," said Jones, who also competes in cycling in the Paralympic Summer Games. "The second run I definitely came back knowing that I had nothing to lose and I felt like I put down a pretty good run. Two little mistakes and that's about it. Otherwise I felt really good. I wish I would have gone up further, but it is what it is. I felt like I came back and had a strong run. I felt like I showed everybody what I can do."
Meier lost some time on the bottom part of the hill on his first run, but was determined to lay it down for the final slalom run of his stellar Paralympic career.
"I had to lay it all down on the line," stated Meier, who punctuated his second run with fists pumping high in the air. "This was my last slalom run of my life, that's how I'm looking at it. I just had to let it all hang out. I did that. There were a couple bobbles, but you're going to get that when you're racing. I was definitely satisfied with my run, definitely. I didn't have the big mistake I had in my first run. It's all what could have happened, but you can't look at it that way. You just have to keep going forward. I tried to make it up in the second run, I did my best."
"Monte Meier had a good finish to his Paralympic Slalom career and skied solid," added Watkins. "Again, the first run he needed to be a little bit closer. I'm really excited for Brad Washburn. He had a good, solid day."
Jones, who posted a combined time of 2:01.19, which was 9.22 seconds behind gold medalist Lauren Woolstencroft of Canada, who covered her two runs in 1:51.97. The silver medal went to Germany's Andrea Rothfuss, whose two-run time was 1:58.35 (+6.38) and Canada also collected bronze after Karolina Wisniewska posted a time of 1:58.84 (+6.87).
In an exciting finish to the men's race, Adam Hall of New Zealand threw down a blistering pace in the first run and needed all of his 2.13 second lead time after falling in his second run to retain the lead and claim the gold medal. Hall, who trains in Winter Park, Colo., had a combined time of 1:45.40 to edge Germany's Gerd Schonfelder, who entered Vancouver with 17 Paralympic alpine medals, including 14 golds, by 0.57 (1:45.97). The bronze medal went to Australia's Cameron Rahles-Rahbula, who covered his two runs in 1:47.69 (+2.29).
Ralph Green (Brooklyn, N.Y./ Vail, Colo.), who is competing in his second Paralympic Winter Games, is still in the hunt for his first Paralympic medal. He placed 22nd today with a time of 1:56.78 (+11.38); while John Whitney (Towson, Md. / Winter Park, Colo.), competing in his first Paralympics, moved up five places after the first time and finished in 23rd with a time of 1:57.29 (+11.89).
Paralympic veteran George Sansonetis (Fraser, Colo.), skiing in his fourth Paralympics, had a rough start out of the gate in his first run today and was disqualified for missing a gate.
Three-time Paralympian Hannah Pennington (Winter Park, Colo.) is still looking for her first medal. Her best finish came in Salt Lake in the Giant Slalom when she finished fifth. She finished today in 16th place with a time of 2:24.24 (+32.27). Elitsa Storey (Sun Valley, Idaho), who finished sixth in the 2006 Torino Paralympic Winter Games Slalom, was in 15th place following her first run, but did not start the second run.
Skiing continues for the standing athletes with the Giant Slalom scheduled for March 17. The Downhill is slated to run March 18, Super-G on March 20, and the Super Combined will be held on March 21. (NOTE: All race schedules are subject to change due to the weather.)
Slalom: Women's Standing
1. Lauren Woolstencroft (CAN), 1:51.97
2. Andrea Rothfuss (GER), 1:58.35 (+6.38)
3. Karolina Wisniewska (CAN), 1:58.84 (+6.87)
5. Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 201.19 (+9.22)
16. Hannah Pennington (Winter Park, Colo.), 2:24.24 (+32.27)
DNS (2nd run): Elitsa Storey (Sun Valley, Idaho)
Slalom: Men's Standing
1. Adam Hall (NZL), 1:45.40
2. Gerd Schonfelder (GER), 1:45.97 (+0.57)
3. Cameron Rahles-Rahbula (AUS), 1:47.69 (+2.29)
8. Monte Meier (Park City, Utah), 1:49.29 (+3.89)
9. Brad Washburn (Winter Park, Colo.), 1:49.61 (+4.21)
22. Ralph Green (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Vail, Colo.), 1:56.78 (+11.38)
23. John Whitney (Towson, Md. / Winter Park, Colo.), 1:57.29 (+11.89)
Disqualified (1st run): George Sansonetis (Fraser, Colo.)