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