Downhill Races Hit Whistler Creekside

18 Mar 2010
Viviane Forest

Viviane Forest (CAN) competes in the Women's Visually Impaired Giant Slalom at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

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The sun shone a big spotlight on the amazing Downhill races of Alpine Skiing today. In the first run, Viviane Forest (CAN, B2) with guide Lindsay Debou won gold with a time of 1:27.51. This is her third medal from these games. “We have three colours so far, a whole set,” Forest said about winning gold, silver and bronze in the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

Only 0.68 seconds behind Forest was Henrieta Farkasova (SVK, B3) with guide Natalia Subrtova, adding a silver medal to her collection after a gold medal win in the women’s giant slalom (Visually Impaired) event. Danelle Umstead (USA, B2) won her first medal of the Games with guide Rob Umstead with a bronze and was one of three American women to ski away with medals in the Downhill events.

Alana Nichols (USA, LW11) and Laurie Stephens (USA, LW12-1) were the other two in the trio of American medal winners having won the gold and silver medals in the Women’s Downhill Sitting category, respectively.

“I’m just on cloud nine again. Two is awesome, three is a charm so I’ve heard. All I can do is ski my best run,” Nichols said about winning her second gold medal and looking ahead to her future races.

The fast course caused more than 20 skiers to crash in their races, most notably double gold medalist Martin Braxenthaler (GER, LW10-2) and double bronze medalist Kuniko Obinata (JPN, LW12-2). However, the speed on the course was golden for Laura Woolstencroft (CAN, LW3-1), who won the Women’s Standing category and her third gold medal of the week. Solene Jambaque (FRA, LW9-2) raced to a silver medal with a time of 1:29.94. Double silver medalist, Andrea Rothfuss (GER, LW6/8-2) skied to a bronze medal in the standing category.

In the Men’s Downhill (Visually Impaired) Jon Santacana Maiztegui (ESP, B2) with guide Miguel Galindo Garces won gold by skiing just 0.4 seconds faster than silver medalist Mark Bathum (USA, B3) with guide Slater Storey. This was Santacana Maiztegui’s third medal but first gold in the Vancouver 2010 Games.

After winning that first gold Santacana Maiztegui said, “We never thought we could win a medal in this event but we have improved a lot. Being here is like a dream come true.”