Pärson wins super-G in Åre

Anja Pärson of Sweden upset the form book to successfully defend her super-G crown at the world ski championships in Åre on Tuesday.

American Lindsey Kildow took the silver medal after finishing second ahead of Renate Goetschl of Austria.

Pärson thus becomes the first woman skier to defend the title since Isolde Kostner of Italy in 1997.

However despite the race following a more anticipated, and exciting, pattern than the men’s super-G, won earlier by Italian Patrick Staudacher, the 25-year-old Swede’s win came as something of a surprise.

Having undergone a knee operation after the Olympics last year Pärson has so far endured a difficult season on the World Cup, during which she has failed to claim a victory.

Her best results so far had been two third places on two downhills. It seems the two-week break she took from the World Cup to prepare for Sweden’s first hosting of the championships in 53 years has paid off.

“For the past 10 days I’ve been testing boots and skis. I’ve trained for the championships but I also took some time to enjoy myself,” said Pärson, who completed her trademark belly dive in front of her fans after the win.

Seven of the world’s better ranked skiers in the super-G still had to follow Pärson, but ultimately none of them were able to better her winning time of 1min 18.85sec.

The powerful little Swede blazed a quick trail and despite a brief wobble after only 15secs of racing she came past the first intermediate point 0.58secs faster than provisional leader Britt Janyk.

Pärson then briefy lost some of her advantage, before making it back up on the second half of the course and then finishing 0.59 ahead of the Canadian.

American Julia Mancuso, the Olympic giant slalom champion, has won a super-G and a downhill earlier this season, but despite briefly challenging Pärson’s provisional lead with a 0.08 advantage at the top, her bid soon evaporated and she finished out the medals.

Her compatriot Kildow has also been impressive in the speed events this season, and was expected to challenge Goetschl for the gold.

Kildow, 22, also had a brief wobble near the top of the course but did well to keep her balance and maintain her bid for a first world medal a year after a crash during the Olympics ruined her Games campaign.

After the big jump just after the midway point Kildow’s deficit of 0.47 dropped to 0.31 and she then finished in second to push Austrian Nicole Hosp out of second place.

Goetschl, the women’s pacesetter in the speed events with wins in three downhills and three super-G’s this season, will likely blame a small mistake she made at the top of the course for ruining her gold medal bid.

The Austrian was briefly 0.01 quicker than Pärson but soon after it turned into a deficit that went from 0.24 before ending at 0.53 at the finish line.

It means the 31-year-old, who won her last world title in a downhill in 1999, will be looking ahead to this weekend’s blue riband event to make amends.