Swiss skier Marlies Oester seized a hard-fought fourth place in the women’s combined alpine event at Salt Lake City on Thursday.This content was published on February 15, 2002 - 12:37
Oester's strong result came after holding the bronze-medal position at the end of the slalom race on Thursday, where she clocked a time of 1:29.34 on the winding Snow Basin course.
However the 26-year-old from Adelboden was unable to stay in medal contention after finishing solidly on the challenging downhill course - the third leg of the gruelling combined event.
She finished with a combined time of 2:45.61, more than three seconds behind winner Janica Kostelic from Croatia - collecting that country's first ever gold medal.
Another Swiss, Catherine Borghi from Les Diablerets produced a confidence-building result with a combined time of 2:24.79 - eighth overall.
Speaking after the final race, Oester said she had felt weakest in the slalom leg, where she placed fifth, but expressed delight at the positive overall outcome.
"I just let go", she said. "My skis are running really well and I felt I was fast and I just thought `hold on to it`".
Both skiers will be hoping to improve on their performances in Saturday's super-G event - traditionally a strong discipline for the Swiss.
In the curling, the Swiss women’s team maintained their unbeaten record, winning a cliff-hanger against the US 7-6 and dominating the Japanese 9-8.
The men’s team were less fortunate, losing 6-2 against the US, and leaving Switzerland in joint fourth place facing a tough battle to stay in medal contention.
In the figure skating, crowd-favourite, Stéphane Lambiel stumbled in the short performance, but managed a credible 15th placing.
Lambiel crashed to the ice while performing a difficult triple axel, a move he had never executed in competition before.
Swallowing his disappointment, the french-speaking teenager finished his routine showing signs of the artistic flair and charisma that endeared him to fans at the European Championships in Lausanne last month.
Hockey team bow out with a win
After a disappointing Olympic campaign, Switzerland's ice hockey team were at least able to celebrate victory in their final match.
Battling only for 11th place, the Swiss overcame Austria 4-1 on Thursday to finish their Salt Lake experience with just two wins from their four Olympic matches.
The team, which suffered disciplinary problems both on and off the ice, managed only a draw in their opening game against France, before seeing their Olympic dream die thanks to a humiliating 5:2 defeat against Ukraine.
Thursday also saw Switzerland's two Olympic cross country skiers - Patrik Maechler and Reto Burgermeister - unable to make an impression in the combined short events at the Soldier Hollow nordic centre.
Maechler managed to place 41st, with a time of 52:09.1 after the 15-km classical event and the 10-km skate pursuit.
Burgermeister finished 42nd, clocking 52:18.1, almost three minutes behind gold medallist Johann Muehlegg from Spain.
swissinfo with agencies
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