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Rey-Bellet takes silver at downhill championships

Rey-Bellet said she was happy to win a medal on home snow Keystone

Switzerland's Corinne Rey-Bellet has won the silver medal in the women's downhill at the Alpine world ski championships in St Moritz.

This content was published on February 9, 2003 - 15:20

And on Monday, Marlies Oester scooped the bronze in the women's combined event, bringing Switzerland's medal total to three.

Oester came in 2.20 minutes behind the winner, the three-time Olympic champion Janica Kostelic, from Croatia. Second place was taken by the Austrian, Nicole Hosp.

These successes follow on from Bruno Kernen's bronze medal in the men's event on Saturday.

The Swiss resort is in a party mood after bagging three medals in three days.

Canada's Melanie Turgeon won the gold medal in the women's downhill race on Sunday.

She stunned a huge crowd by completing the Corviglia course in a time of one minute 34.30 seconds to become the first Canadian woman to win world downhill gold for ten years.

"I charged the whole way down, I needed to be the world champion," Turgeon said after screaming for joy in the finish area.

Rey-Bellet thrilled her fans when she momentarily took the lead, raising hopes of the country's first gold of the championships.

But she had to content herself with silver, sharing second place with Austria's Alexandra Meissnitzer. They both completed the course in a time of 1:34.41.

Rey-Bellet said it was a great relief to win a medal at home: "I was nervous at the start; that's what I needed to perform well."

Flags and cowbells

More than 38,000 spectators lined the course, waving flags and clanging Swiss cowbells in the brilliant sunshine. Still more fans crowded into the glamorous resort's bars and restaurants.

St Moritz is more associated with celebrities, furs and fast cars than with the high-adrenalin world of Alpine sports.

But the world ski championships is set to change this image, said Claudio Duschletta from the St Moritz tourist board.

"The important thing is that we want to show the world that it's not just all about glitz and glamour here, but top level sport," he said.

Bronze medal

The home crowd had reason to celebrate on Saturday when Switzerland's Bruno Kernen took bronze in the men's downhill.

Kernen said it meant a lot to him to win a medal on home snow: "I am happy to win a medal in Switzerland."

Austria's Michael Walchhofer stormed down the course in a time of 1:43.54 seconds to take gold in the event.

Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt came second with a time of 1:44.05 while Kernen was just 46 hundredths of a second behind.

Switzerland's Didier Cuche finished the Corviglia course fourth.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Top results from the women's downhill:
1. Melanie Turgeon, Canada
2. Corinne Rey-Bellet, Switzerland, (tie) Alexandra Meissnitzer, Austria
4. Brigitte Obermoser, Austria
5. Renate Goetschl, Austria

End of insertion

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