Italian squad enjoys successful weekend

The Italian Ski Federation has discovered this weekend there is life after Alberto Tomba and Deborah Compagnoni.

The Italian Ski Federation has discovered this weekend there is life after Alberto Tomba and Deborah Compagnoni.

The Italian ski team enjoyed one of its most successful campaigns on the World Cup circuit this weekend since the retirement of its two super stars, with its women winning two-of-three races in St Moritz and Kristian Ghedina collecting a win and a second place in a double downhill on home snow in Val Gardena.

Isolde Kostner, the World Cup overall leader, claimed the first of two downhills Friday, while young Karen Putzer triumphed in Sunday's super-G.

Not to be overlooked was Alessandra Merlin's second place in the super-G behind Putzer.

The team's recent success could help rekindle interest in Italian skiing, which has suffered plunging TV ratings, dwindling sponsorship and a dramatic cut in funding since the departure of its two stars.

The flamboyant Tomba and the jet-setting Compagnoni had single-handedly fired interest in World Cup skiing, and their departure has left a void that has been hard for the Italian Ski Federation - and the World Cup - to fill.

"It's true that Alberto and Deborah were always in the spotlight," said Kostner, the winner of 10 World Cup downhills. "We feel it now that they are gone."

But currently in a strong position to win the overall World Cup title, Kostner could go a long way towards filling the gap by claiming the prestigious crown.

The Italian will have a chance to consolidate her overall lead after the Christmas break when the women move to Cortina d'Ampezzo, where Kostner has collected four of her eight World Cup victories.

Putzer can also be expected to continue on a strong note in Cortina, the site of her first World Cup podium finish, where she placed third in a super-G in 1998.

"This is only the first quarter of the season," explained Kostner, who has six career World Cup downhill victories, two super-G wins and has climbed the podium 32 times in all. "I don't want to start talking about the overall.

"But it is true I generally do well in Cortina."

If the weekend was a success for the Italian team, it left several other teams in dire straits.

Over four days, at least five skiers saw their season brought to an early end, falling victim to the unforgiving Corviglia course.

Rising star Janica Kostelic, the one-woman Croatian team, crash-landed during Thursday's downhill training on the newly-reconfigured course, rupturing every ligament in her right knee to end her season - perhaps even her career.

Austria lost it's promising rookie Silvia Berger to torn knee ligaments, Switzerland lost Sylviane Berthod to the same injury, and Norway will have to continue without Kristine Kristiansen, who also ended up in the St. Moritz Gut Clinic with a damaged knee.

World Cup veteran Pernilla Wiberg, a multiple Olympic and world champion, may have to undergo a ninth operation on her left knee, after a heavy landing on one of the course's jumps reawakened an old knee injury, already aggravated by a crash during a super-G in Lake Louise earlier this year.

Three of those injured this weekend were podium finishers this season, with Berger finishing runner-up in a giant slalom in Val d'Isere, Kostelic winning back-to-back slaloms, and Wiberg triumphing in Saturday's downhill.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
News
people
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced