Swiss earn victories in World Cup ski events

Gut (right) and Fanchini celebrate in St Moritz Keystone

Lara Gut and Simon Ammann showed their skiing talent on Saturday as they took first place in a super-G and a jumping event at Swiss resorts.

This content was published on December 20, 2008 minutes

Up-and-coming ski star Gut won the super-G race in St Moritz for her first World Cup victory. Olympic champion Ammann soared to his fourth victory of the season in Engelberg.

On a course shortened by fog, the 17-year-old Gut finished the course in a time of 57.38 seconds, 0.63 of a second ahead of compatriot Fabienne Suter.

Nadia Fanchini of Italy was third, trailing Gut by 0.87 of a second.

Lindsey Vonn of the United States went out about halfway down the course. The defending overall World Cup champion was one of many racers caught out by a bump in a fast section after a sharp right-hand turn.

However, Vonn keeps her lead in the overall standings.

Good for Gut

Gut came to prominence last season with a third place on the same Corviglia slope in her first race at such a level.

Her victory on Saturday confirmed the huge potential she showed in February finishing third in a World Cup downhill on the same St Moritz piste, despite crashing near the end and sliding across the finish line.

On Friday, Gut came fifth in a super-combined World Cup event in the southeastern Swiss resort.

"After what happened last year, I could not hope for anything better than winning here," she said.

"To win at home in front of my friends and my family is a carbon copy of what I imagined in my dreams."

At the age of 17, Gut joins an illustrious group of women to have won a World Cup race before their 18th birthday. Another was Switzerland's Michela Figini, also from the southern canton of Ticino.

No surprise

Vonn said Gut's win was not a surprise to her rivals. "She has been skiing well all season so far," the 24-year-old Vonn said.

"She has got a lot to learn still but on a day like today, running first, it was a perfect chance for her. She definitely executed and seized the opportunity."

Vonn was less impressed with the course setting that tricked her and caused Canada's Emily Brydon to crash out in the steadily falling snow.

"It's not the best idea to set the fastest turns right into a bump where the light is flat and no one can see anything," she said. "It's a very dangerous situation."

The St Moritz events finish with a downhill on Sunday.

Ammann still dominating

Ammann, winner of two gold medals at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, logged two of the three longest jumps of the day at 138.5 metres and 137 metres.

The jumps gave the 27-year-old from canton St Gallen a total of 275.4 points for the win ahead of Austrian Wolfgang Loitzl, who took second with 273.2 points.

Gregor Schlierenzauer, also of Austria, took third with 265.7 points.

Saturday's victory was Ammann's fourth out of six World Cup events so far this season and bodes well for his hopes of winning the prestigious Four Hills Tournament, scheduled to begin on December 28.

The wins so far have helped him to solidify his lead in the overall World Cup standings as well. Ammann now has 525 points, 115 more than second-place Schlierenzauer.

"After all these years I have a clear head and experience, too," he said. "That helps in not-so-easy conditions like today with the rain and a light wind at your back."

More World Cup competitions are scheduled to be held in Engelberg on Sunday.

swissinfo with agencies

Snowboard Cross

In other World Cup action on Saturday, 24-year-old Swiss athlete Sandra Frei won the women's snowboard cross event in Arosa ahead of Norwegian Helen Olafsen and French racer Neylly Moenne Loccoz. On Sunday the parallel slalom events will take place, also in Arosa.

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World Cup results

1. Lara Gut, Switzerland, 57.38 seconds.
2. Fabienne Suter, Switzerland, 58.01.
3. Nadia Fanchini, Italy, 58.25.

Other Swiss:
6. Andrea Dettling, 58.44.
7. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, 58.45.
15. Monika Dumermuth, 58.81.
17. Nadja Kamer, 58.85.
19. Dominique Gisin, 58.99.

Ski Jumping:
1. Simon Ammann, Switzerland, 275.4 points.
2. Wolfgang Loitzl, Austria, 273.2.
3. Gregor Schlierenzauer, Austria, 265.7.

Overall Ski Jumping Standings:
1. Simon Ammann, Switzerland, 525 points.
2. Gregor Schlierenzauer, Austria, 410.
3. Wolfgang Loitzl, Austria, 279.

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