LIENZ, Austria — Competition concluded at the first FIS World Snowboard Championships in Lienz, Austria Sunday (Jan. 28) as the U.S. picked up another medal — a bronze — in parallel slalom competition from Sondra Van Ert (Ketchum, Idaho). Van Ert’s bronze medal raised the U.S. medal count to nine — half of the possible medals won at the inaugural championships.
Van Ert, who rides on Hot snowboards, Rossignol boots and Bomber bindings, added Sunday’s bronze to the bronze she won in women’s giant slalom competition Friday. She was surprised by the medal on Sunday, claiming that parallel slalom — an elimination-type event — is not her best. “I’ve never made a round in the parallels before. And so I’m really surprised,” she said. Italy’s Marion Posch won, with Marcella Boerma of The Netherlands taking the silver.
“I’m not that exhausted,” claimed Van Ert, who made eight runs on the parallel slalom course en-route to her bronze-medal win. “But I’m mentally drained to the max. I didn’t get here the prettiest way! Unfortunately I was slipping and sliding and had snow on me almost every run, but that’s the game of parallel slalom. And I couldn’t look at the crowd — it would have made me too nervous!” Van Ert said of the huge crowd that lined the course and jammed the finish arena.
“Peter Foley, head coach finally gave me the hint to calm myself down,” said Van Ert, whose last run (which determined third and fourth places) was her best of the afternoon. “I was just watching her stuggle on some of her runs, and I just said, ‘Okay, we’ve got to fix this,'” explained Foley. “She kept bending over at the waist as she broke over the pitch. Sondra came up to me before the run and said, ‘Do I go right after it?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, go right after it. But the only way you’re going to win this the battle between third and fourth place is if you stand up and finish the whole thing — you’ve got to hold your body upright as you go over the pitch. And she did it, and she won the bronze!”
Two other American’s progressed to the afternoon parallel slalom finals: Stacia Hookom (Edwards, Colo.),who finished eighth, and Tom O’Brien (Salt Lake City, who finished 14th in men’s competition. The top eight women and 16 men from the morning’s elimination competition progressed to the afternoon finals.
Foley was pleased with the way his team performed at the inaugural FIS World Snowboard Championships. “I expected that the athletes would do well, but I really didn’t lay any solid expectation on it,” said Foley. “I knew coming in that we would do well, and it turned out better than I hoped. In this big of a race — a one-time shot — you never can tell what’s going to happen. And I knew coming in that we had a strong enough team to do great, but having it actually happen is a different story. And it happened, and I’m happy.”
The U.S. Snowboard Team now travels to Hindelang, Germany for World Cup races, Feb. 3-4. Highlights from the World Snowboard Championships will be aired on ABC’s Wide World of Sports on Feb. 10.
Gold: Ross Powers, S. Londonderry, Vt.
Silver: Lael Gregory, Eugene, Ore.
Bronze: Rob Kingwell, Jackson, Wyo.
Silver: Annemarie Uliasz, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Bronze: Cammy Potter, Park City, Utah
Men’s Giant Slalom
Gold: Jeff Greenwood, Granby, Conn.
Silver: Mike Jacoby, Hood River, Ore.
Women’s Giant Slalom
Bronze: Sondra Van Ert, Ketchum, Ida.
Women’s Parallel Slalom
Bronze: Sondra Van Ert, Ketchum, Ida.
WORLD SNOWBOARD CHAMPIONSHIPS — PARALLEL SLALOM
Lienz, Austria — Sunday, Jan. 28, 1996
Men: 1. Ivo Rudiferia, ITA; 2. Rainer Krug, GER; 3. Helmut Pramstaller, AUT; 4. Ulf Maard, SWE; 5. Damien Vigroux, FRA; 6. Stefan Kaltschutz, AUT; 7. Dieter Moherndl, GER; 8. Thomas Prugger, ITA; 9. Mathias Behounek, GER; 10. Maxence Idesheim, FRA; U.S. RIDERS: 14. Tom O’Brien, Salt Lake City, Utah; 23. Anton Pogue, Hood River, Ore.; 34. Antonio Davila, Flagstaff, Ariz.; 40. Jeff Greenwood, Granby, Conn.; Did Not Finish; Manuel Mendoza, Whitefish, Mont.; Mike Jacoby, Hood River, Ore.; and Tom Lyman, Whitefish, Mont.
Women: 1. Marion Posch, ITA; 2. Marcella Boerma, NED; 3. Sondra Van Ert, Ketchum, Idaho; 4. Heidi Renoth, GER; 5. Steffi Prentl, GER; 6. Amalie Kulawik, GER; 7. Isabell Zedlacher, AUT; 8. Stacia Hookom, Edwards, Colo.; 9. Karine Ruby, FRA; 10. Birgit Herbert, AUT; OTHER U.S. RIDER: 19. Lynn Ott, Bend, Ore.