Sweden’s Baginski wins Women’s Speed 1

With a speed of 161.07 km/h, Linda Baginski of Sweden won the Women’s Speed 1 Category in the second FIS World Cup race at the Subaru Velocity Challenge. Karine Dubouchet-Revol from France came in second place with 159.96 km/h and Jennifer Romano from Italy took third place at 159.93 km/h. The competition was held March 6 in Sun Peaks Resort.

“I feel very good,” said Baginski. “I feel very relieved because yesterday I wasn’t too happy. It was so small, the time difference yesterday. Very happy that I won now!”

The Origone brothers of Italy once again ruled the podium in the Men’s Speed 1 category. But this time, it was Simone Origone who won the race at a blistering speed of 165.63 km/h. Ivan Origone was a mere seven-hundredths of a second behind with his speed of 165.56 km/h. Philippe May of Switzerland came in third at 165.40 km/h.

“(I’m) happy to be on the podium but it’s a little frustrating to be 0.2 km/h of the victory,” said May of how close the the top three contenders were in their speeds. “It’s good, but it could’ve been better.”

The Men’s Downhill category came up with the same ranking as yesterday’s World Cup race but the speeds were farther apart compared to the Speed 1 category. Gunther Foidl from Austria came in first with a speed of 156.07 km/h. Michel Guomoens from Switzerland came in second place with 155.04 km/h, while Markus Munzer from Austria got third place with a speed of 153.13 km/h.

“I played hard for this victory and today was the confirmation of this,” said Foidl. Although he’s still extremely happy of winning today’s race, he said that the first win yesterday was more exciting for him. “I expected to win,” he said. Foidl said having two Austrians in the top three demonstrates the calibre of athletes in the Austrian team.

When it comes to the world of speed skiing, there are only a handful of women competitors.

Just like the guys, for Jennifer Romano of France, it’s the speed and adrenaline that attracted her to the sport.

Some of them had planned to compete in the sport, while others happened upon it by chance. Baginski had been competing in alpine racing but decided to try speed skiing “because it looked fun”.

“Because the downhill looked like the most fun part, I thought I would phone the speed ski team and ask about training and they talked me into it,” said Baginski. She ended up getting hooked. Baginski said she never regretted it. “I love speed skiing. That was a good decision.”

“Over the years, there’s been quite a few, but it’s a shame there’s not more,” said Baginski. “I would love to see more women (in the sport).”

At 33, Elena Banfo from Italy is a female veteran of the sport. She said she tries to encourage younger women to compete in speed skiing. “I say ‘Go for speed skiing’ But they say ‘No, it’s more dangerous’” she said. Lisa Hovland-Uden, 19, from Sweden is one of the braver newcomers in the sport.

Women or men, speed skiing is definitely not a sport for the faint of heart.

The official Subaru Velocity Challenge Pro Race will be held tomorrow and will wrap up with an awards ceremony at Sun Peaks Resort’s Village Square.

For the complete results, visit www.velocitychallenge.com.

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