Following Canadian Women to
Salt Lake City

Tuesday, February 26, 2002
By RON MANZ -- Calgary Sun

Skier chases dream season
Veteran disabled champion goes from World Cup finals to Paralympics

If there is a queen of disabled women's skiing, her name is Lauren Woolstencroft.

The 20-year-old Calgarian has dominated her sport like no other in recent years.

The four-year veteran of Canada's national disabled ski team was the downhill, giant slalom and slalom champion at the 2000 world championships.

Last year, she won World Cup downhill and super-G titles, finishing second in giant slalom and third in slalom to end the season second in the overall World Cup standings.

This year, Woolstencroft has already captured gold in a World Cup super-G and slalom in Europe, with bronze medals in two other giant slalom and slalom races.

She is currently fifth overall heading into the World Cup disabled finals this week at Kimberley Alpine Resort.

"I have had kind of an up-and-down season so far this year," said Woolstencroft, who's the star attraction for anyone heading to Kimberley this weekend.

"There was no snow in France so our speed events there were cancelled and they are the ones I normally excel in. We had twice as many technical races as a result and I struggled at times with some bad luck, like straddling a gate and catching an edge. I didn't get as many good results as I would have liked but I'm not all bummed out, either. I'm looking forward to Kimberley."

Woolstencroft points out competition on this year's World Cup circuit is tougher than last year.

A number of the top racers who were injured last winter are healthy and on any given day there are seven or eight racers who can win.

"The World Cup overall title is at stake in Kimberley and there's a lot of merit in winning that crown. With my season being so up and down, it would be great to be able to have a shot at it.

"But because the Paralympics come up right after Kimberley, it's an opportunity to get three more starts under my belt before the big Games. I didn't want to peak too early this winter because of the Paralympics (in Salt Lake City), so I hope I'm actually just getting it all together at the right time."

Woolstencroft says the entire Canadian team has been training hard since coming back from the European World Cup events.

She has pushed herself extra hard knowing what's at stake next month.

"This year has been all about the Paralympics. I'm focused on doing well there ... but at the same time, I haven't wanted to devote all my energies to just that competition.

"There's a danger of committing everything to just one race or one set of races. If you mess up, then you have nothing. I've done my best to spread my attention around and now I just hope my whole season comes together at the right time."

Woolstencroft, who excels at the speed events, is disappointed there is no downhill in Kimberley at the World Cup finals.

There are two super-Gs and a giant slalom with no slalom finals, either.

"The world body decided it wouldn't be fair to hold a World Cup final for downhill and giving the title to someone using just one race to determine it. There also wasn't enough time to include a downhill and two days of training necessary to run it, prior to teams packing up to go to Salt Lake."

Woolstencroft's first event at the Paralympics is the March 8 downhill.

The World Cup disabled finals run from tomorrow through to Sunday.

The Salt Lake City Paralympics run from March 4-16.

Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport
N202 - 801 King Edward Avenue
Ottawa, ON, Canada
K1N 6N5
Phone: 613-562-5667
Fax: 613-562-5668