Jones top U.S. skier in giant slalom
WHISTLER CREEKSIDE, B.C., Canada – Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was the USA’s top finisher in Wednesday’s standing giant slalom at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, coming in ninth place among women.
Jones posted a first run time of 1:23.07, which placed her in seventh only 1.19 seconds off of the first run third place finisher Andrea Rothfuss of Germany (1:21.18). Knowing she had to lay down an aggressive run on the second course of the day, Jones came out of the gate doing just that. However, she nearly fell and dropped two places in today’s final standings, covering both runs in 2:52.26.
“That was it,” said Jones. “I threw an aggressive run and lost it. That's what you do in the sport, you go or blow. I'd rather go out proud than take it easy and not fall.”
Jones finished 18.23 seconds behind gold medalist Lauren Woolstencroft (2:34.03) of Canada, who also took the slalom gold on Monday. Rothfuss, the silver medalist in the slalom, picked up her second silver with a time of 2:41.60 (+7.57), while Slovakia’s Petra Smarzova claimed the bronze in 2:41.63 (+7.60).
“The GS was tough,” said U.S. Paralympic Team coach Ray Watkins. “The course conditions were rough and bumpy, but you know what? We can make all the excuses that we want, but this is the Paralymic Games and this is the chance you have to get it done. Either you do or you don't. Tomorrow's the downhill. I like our chances there. Today is over, so we move on and go forward.”
Rounding out the USA women’s standing field was three-time Paralympian Hannah Pennington (Winter Park, Colo.), who placed 15th with a time of 3:18.40 (+44.37). With seven gates remaining in her first run, Elitsa Storey (Sun Valley, Idaho) wiped out and did not finish the course.
On the men’s side, legendary German skier Gerd Schonfelder, who won silver in Monday’s slalom, took today’s men’s standing giant slalom gold medal and now owns 19 Paralympic medals, 15 of which are gold. Schonfelder’s two-run gold medal time was 2:23.92; Austria’s Robert Meusburger claimed silver with 2:26.08 (+2.16), while Vincent Gauthier-Manuel took the bronze medal in a time of 2:26.33 (+2.41).
The top U.S. men’s finisher was Brad Washburn (Winter Park, Colo.), who finished in 16th place with a time of 2:34.85 (+10.93).
“I was going for it on that run,” commented Washburn after his second run. “I felt like I didn't have too big of mistakes on that run. It was pretty good for me. The course was holding up a lot better than the first run. I think they put some salt down or something. The course was a lot smoother, for me at least. I felt like I skied it a lot better than my first run."
Skiing continues for the standing athletes with the downhill scheduled to be run on 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.)
Giant Slalom: Women's Standing
1. Lauren Woolstencroft (CAN), 2:34.03
2. Andrea Rothfuss (GER), 2:41.60 (+7.57)
3. Petra Smarzova (SVK), 2:41.63 (+7.60)
9. Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 2:52.26 (+18.23)
15. Hannah Pennington (Winter Park, Colo.), 3:18.40 (+44.37)
DNF (1st run): Elitsa Storey (Sun Valley, Idaho)
Giant Slalom: Men's Standing
1. Gerd Schonfelder (GER), 2:23.92
2. Robert Meusburger (AUT), 2:26.08 (+2.16)
3. Vincent Gauthier-Manuel (FRA), 2:26.33 (+2.41)
16. Brad Washburn (Winter Park, Colo.), 2:34.85 (+10.93)
27. George Sansonetis (Fraser, Colo.), 2:45.42 (+21.50)
28. John Whitney (Towson, Md. / Winter Park, Colo.), 2:47.17 (+23.25)
29. Ralph Green (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Vail, Colo.), 2:48.96 (+25.04)
32. Ian Jansing (St. Louis, Mo./Winter Park, Colo.), 2:52.79 (+28.87)