Winter Olympics: Lillehammer '94: Seizinger wins by a street

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The Independent Online
KATJA SEIZINGER, who earlier failed to finish in the super-giant slalom in which she was among the favourites, came good on the 2.6km Olympiabakken downhill piste here yesterday to take Germany's second gold medal.

Seizinger clocked 1min 35.93sec, good enough to hold off an unexpectedly strong challenge from the American Picabo Street. The 22-year-old product of 1960s counter-culture parents was given a forename that is pronounced like the nursery game and means 'Shining Water' in the Plains Indian dialect of her native Idaho. She was 0.66sec behind Seizinger in second place.

The fast-rising Italian 18-year- old Isolde Kostner was third in 1:36.85 to duplicate her bronze medal super-giant placing. 'I never expected any medal here, let alone two,' she said. 'I can go home very happy.' The defending Olympic holder Kerrin Lee- Gartner of Canada, was 2.29 sec behind the winner.

Seizinger, a pure speed specialist who just missed a medal in Albertville, praised the piste and said she was not frustrated by her failure in the super-G. However, she knocked the polish off her achievement by adding: 'Winning over the course of a season on the World Cup counts more than here to me. But of course, everyone is happy with an Olympic medal.'

Street said that the winning example set last weekend by Moe in the men's downhill set her nerves jumping before the race. 'I did not sleep well last night,' she said. 'Tommy started the Games off really well and that put a lot of pressure and expectations on me. My run felt ragged, but I expected to make a few mistakes, I'm just happy that I could ski as well as I did.'