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Near misses, near medals at Lake Louise



Turgeon comes close, Kostner claims both downhills

Canada’s Melanie Turgeon crashed in the first World Cup downhill of the season, at Lake Louise last week, but came back to place fourth in the second downhill and ninth in the super G.

At the same time, Italy’s Isolde Kostner returned to Lake Louise to claim her third and fourth gold medals there. She has also been on the podium in her last eight appearance at Lake Louise.

It was an eventful three days, to say the least.

On day one, after skiing well in the training runs, Turgeon lost a ski after landing a new jump on the bottom of the Olympic Downhill course. She tumbled to a stop just 300 metres from the finish line and a likely finish on the podium.

She got up on her own power, cradling her bruised right shoulder, and retrieved her ski.

Kostner won the first downhill by a respectable margin, 33/100ths of a second, and was clocked at 102 kilometres an hour in one of the speed sections. Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria was second, followed by Corrine Rey Bellet of Switzerland.

With Turgeon out, 24 year old Anne-Marie Lefrancois was Canada’s top racer, finishing in 17 th place, but less than a second and a half out of first place. She was just 9/100ths out of qualifying for a berth in the 2002 Winter Olympics, and is now just one top 13 result away.

On the second day of downhill racing, Turgeon was determined to race despite the pain in her shoulder and her left knee.

"In F1 racing the guys crash their cars and walk away, then get back in another car and go the next day – that’s what we have to do," said the 25 year old from Quebec City. "This is my job and yesterday could have been worse. I had the luxury of being able to ski today, without holding back. It’s my own victory today.

"The doctors thought there would be a discussion with the coaches about me before the race. But I said, ‘you can discuss as much as you want but I’m going to race’."

Turgeon didn’t appear at all concerned during her run on day two, and crossed the finish line in third place overall. With only a handful of competitive racers left at the starting gate, it looked like Turgeon was on her way to the podium. Unfortunately for her, Sylviane Berthod was one of those racers. The Swiss skier posted the second best time of the day, pushing Dorfmeister back to third and Turgeon to fourth, 1/100 th of a second away from the podium.

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