Super silver: Kildow medals at Worlds
ARE, SWEDEN – Lindsey Kildow has been waiting a long time for this medal.Sure, Kildow’s eight podiums this season have been a great addition to her resume. And her win at San Sicario, Italy was sweet redemption from her crash at the 2006 Olympics that sent her to the hospital.But Kildow’s second-place finish in Tuesday’s super-G at the World Championships in Are, Sweden was the ultimate catharsis.”I’m so relieved to get the medal,” said Vail’s Kildow. “It was a great moment and lifted the weight off my shoulders.”Sweden’s Anja Paerson won the race, her second straight world title in the discipline and fifth overall. Paerson, who has not won a World Cup race this season, skipped the super-G races in San Sicario late in January to rest and train for the world champs on her home turf.Renate Goetschl or Austria, winner of three super-G World Cup races this season, took third. American Julia Mancuso was sixth.The silver for Kildow was her first medal from the worlds or Olympics. Last year in Torino, Kildow crashed during downhill training and came back to race, but her top finish was seventh. At the 2005 worlds in Bormio, Italy, Kildow twice took fourth, and was unable to compete in the 2003 worlds due to a hip injury.”It was definitely a heavy weight,” Kildow said of the pressure to perform well in Are. “It wasn’t necessarily from myself. I felt it was a lot of pressure from everyone else … I’m really happy to get that out of the way. Now, everyone knows that I’m fine and I can do it. It’s not a big deal.”Kildow, who had the 30 bib, skied a solid run, but said she lost just a little time on a jump.
“I got a little bit of air on a roll, and it caused me to go wider than I wanted to, and I lost some momentum there,” Kildow said. “In general, it was a pretty good run with no major mistakes.”When she crossed the finish line in 1 minute, 19.17 seconds, Kildow was almost assured of a medal. Goetschl followed with a run .21 seconds slower, and soon enough, Kildow was just below Paerson on the podium.”No one really felt that I could do it, and I believed in myself,” Kildow said. “I think I had some bad luck – I was fourth in Bormio, and that was my first world champs, and I didn’t think it was that bad, but I think I proved to a lot of people I could do it.”Waiting gameThough she showed her determination in coming back to race injured in Torino, Kildow still used her fall as motivation for this season.”All summer I was thinking about the Olympics and how I wanted to get revenge, and ski well this season and at the world champs,” Kildow said. “And all the hard work has paid off.”After downhill wins in Lake Louise, Alberta and Val d’Isere, France, Kildow picked up a super-G victory on the same course in Italy where she fell in the Olympics. Then, Kildow and the U.S. team headed to Are.Tuesday’s super-G was originally scheduled for Sunday, but had to be moved to Tuesday. Physically, Kildow enjoyed the rest, but not the waiting.
“It was tough because we were sitting around, and the more you sit around, the more you think about the things you want to do, and it gets you thinking about the wrong things,” Kildow said.With the Bormio champs in her memory, Kildow said she knew how to deal with all the pressures surrounding Are.”We had huge press conferences (in Bormio) and there were so many questions about, ‘Are you going to win, you haven’t won a super-G yet,’ and that was something I hadn’t thought until the press put it in my head,” Kildow said. “For the Olympics and these world championships, I said no interviews the day before races, (so I can) only think about my skiing, and not to think about the distractions or the crowd or expectations.Kildow, 22, says she has matured as far as dealing with everything that comes with success, and that her fiancé, Thomas Vonn, is a calming force. “My fiancé has been helping me a lot, trying to help me deal with all the pressure and just stick to a normal routine.”Need for speedTuesday was a great showing for the Americans. Along with Kildow and Mancuso, Libby Ludlow was ninth, giving the Americans as many top-10 finishes as the Austrians.”It’s no surprise, we’re all skiing very well,” Kildow said. “Julia has been great this year. Libby has proven herself time and time again in the super-G. It’s great for the team and our confidence, and goes to show you we’re just as good as the Austrians.”
With a medal in her pocket already, Kildow is ready for Sunday’s downhill.”I feel like the pressure of having to do something is gone, and now I’ll be a little more relaxed and more confident, and that will help a lot,” she said. Kildow is known as one of the top speed skiers on the World Cup, but said speed wasn’t always her forte.”Ski Club Vail has really helped me and definitely developed me with my speed skills. I won’t be a speed skier it wasn’t for Ski Club (Vail),”Before the downhill, there is a supercombined Friday, where the Americans hope to follow up on a 1-2-4 finish at the Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria race in January.”I haven’t skied slalom in probably a month, so I have to get my game together,” Kildow said.Today, Kildow will be on the hill for downhill training.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.