Anja calls for calm as she targets third Åre gold

Alpine ace Anja Pärson says she has a long way to go before being even mentioned alongside Scandinavian alpine legends Ingemar Stenmark or Kjetil Andre Aamodt.

But the super-Swede seems to be taking a step closer with every race here at the world ski championships.

Pärson on Friday continued her gold run by adding the super-combined gold to the super-G title she defended earlier this week.

She now has six world titles, and is gunning for gold in Sunday’s downhill, the only world crown still missing from her list of discipines.

“The way she’s skiing I think she can win more gold here,” said Canadian Britt Janyk.

There are four events left – the downhill, giant slalom, slalom and team event.

And American Julia Mancuso, one of a handful of racers aiming to succeed absent Croatian Janica Kostelic as the downhill champion, admits Pärson is on fire.

“It’s not a big surprise,” said the 22-year-old American after she claimed a well-deserved silver medal in the two-discipline super-combined.

“She’s proven she’s a performer and it’s cool (for her) to be at home.”

Pärson’s medals tally from skiing’s big events already outshines compatriot Pernilla Wiberg, who won four world championship golds and two Olympic golds in the 1990s.

Pärson has only one Olympic gold, from the slalom last year, but also has three bronze and a silver medal. Her 34 World Cup victories, at the age of 25, already surpasses Wiberg’s 24 wins in the tough series.

Stenmark, who hails from Tarnaeby – the same northern Swedish town as Pärson – has a record 86 World Cup victories and is also credited with seven titles at major championships, according to some record books.

Confusion reigns because in Stenmark’s day the world championships merged with the Olympics every four years meaning there was only one champion for both.

Two of Stenmark’s triumphs were as joint Olympic and world champion, giving him five triumphs in total.

Another Scandinavian, Kjetil Andre Aamodt, has a record 20 medals won from the world championships and Olympic Games.

From those major events, Pärson already has 13 medals – but she is calling for calm

“I’m only 25 still,” she said when asked those comparisons.

“But, oh my God, Aamodt is a great guy with what he’s done at every world championship and Olympics.

“Just putting my name even close to Aamodt, (Swiss) Vreni (Schneider), and Ingemar and Pernilla, for me it’s such an honour.

“I looked up to them all my life and they’re great people and also great skiers. So I don’t know what to say. It’s just too big for me to take into my heart, because they’re my idols.”

Pärson is having a superb championships following a winless World Cup season so far.

She will be hoping the special relationship she has with her skis continues on Sunday. But she admits her successes are also down to hard work.

“This year every time I put my skis on I feel very comfortable on them.

Even when you’re doing 120 (kmh) I don’t feel the speed.

“I’m trying to find even more speed.”

She added: “It’s the big one on Sunday. And it looks too good to be true – I’m getting a little nervous.

“I know that in the World Cup, the world championships and the Olympic Games it’s all about that day and doing it all perfectly.

“But it doesn’t just come to you, you have to work for it.”