Laurie Stephens wins bronze in slalom

By Jamie M. Blanchard | March 12, 2014, 5:45 a.m. (ET)
Note: On March 13, Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber was awarded the gold medal in the women's slalom sitting event after a successful appeal against her disqualification. Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Mass.) was bumped to fourth place in the official standings. Below is the original March 12 release.

Laurie Stephens Laurie Stephens won her third medal of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games on Day 5, a bronze in the women's slalom sitting. 

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Laurie Stephens continued her medal streak with a bronze in the women’s sitting slalom, adding to the downhill and super-G bronze medals she won earlier in the week at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.

“I’m just trying to focus on my skiing," Stephens said. "For me in slalom, I had two really good runs and I am pretty excited about that. Every day is different and all of the conditions are different, you never know what’s going to happen."

Athletes were greeted to a fresh blanket of snow covering the mountain cluster, and steady snowfall throughout the morning’s competition.

Stephens (Wenham, Mass.) maintained the third position through both runs of the slalom and finished just more than four seconds behind Anna Forster of Germany who took the gold. Stephens’ latest Paralympic medal makes her a seven-time medalist, though it is her first medal in the slalom discipline.

Danelle Umstead and her guide Rob Umstead (Park City, Utah) fell just shy of the podium as they finished fourth in the women’s visually impaired slalom. Umstead was sitting in fifth after the first run but was able to gain one spot on the second run.

“I am always moving on," Danelle said. "I don’t ever hold back. We did that in Vancouver and it worked well for me. Never looking back, just doing the best you can each run and then moving forward. But we’re also looking forward to the rest day tomorrow.”

In her Paralympic Winter Games debut, Staci Mannella (Randolph, N.J.) and guide Kim Seevers (Averill  Park, N.Y.) finished seventh on the first run and fifth on the second run to end the day in sixth place in the women’s visually impaired slalom.

“I am very relieved to get my first run done," she said. "I can really only move forward from here, and that's what we are going to do in the giant slalom. The first run I was super nervous, the second run I ran closer to what I’m capable of, I think for the giant slalom I will chill out and really have a race like I am capable of having.”

Melanie Schwartz (Aspen, Colo.) finished 10th in the women’s standing class. However, Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Stephanie Jallen (Harding, Pa.) fell on the first run and were unable to complete the course.

“We suddenly went from spring back to winter," Jallen said. "It made it tough that we couldn't warm up in those conditions, but luckily the race track was pretty good. Especially the second run, the track was amazing."

Team USA has won seven medals in alpine skiing through Day 5, two silver and five bronze medals.

Officials made the decision on Tuesday to alter the alpine skiing schedule and hold the women’s slalom two days earlier than it was originally scheduled. Alpine skiing competition resumes Thursday with the men’s slalom and runs through Sunday, March 16. For complete results and more information, visit Sochi2014.com.

“We suddenly went from spring back to winter. It made it tough that we couldn’t warm up in those conditions, but luckily the race track was pretty good. Especially the second run, the track was amazing!”
“We suddenly went from spring back to winter. It made it tough that we couldn’t warm up in those conditions, but luckily the race track was pretty good. Especially the second run, the track was amazing!”
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