Skiers from the USA heard their national anthem played twice during the medal ceremony for the Super-G races today at the 2011 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Championships in Sestriere, Italy.
In the Men`s Sitting event, American Christopher Devlin-Young took first with a time of 1:17.67. Japan`s Taiki Morii and France`s Cyril More claimed silver and bronze, both less than two seconds behind Devlin-Young.
The Women`s Sitting event had Devlin-Young`s compatriot Alana Nichols on top with 1:27.56, followed by Laurie Stephens (USA) and Claudia Loesch (AUT).
Germany`s Anna Schaffelhuber, who finished behind Loesch, said her Super-G race was different to her Downhill experience on 16 January.
"There were a lot more turns on the slope for the Super-G, and I had to go from this direction to the next, and it was a tough course," Schaffelhuber said.
France also had no shortage of medals today, claiming the gold and silver in the Women`s Standing event by skiers Solene Jambaque and Marie Bochet respectively, bronze in the Men`s Visually Impaired event by Nicolas Berejny with guide Gregory Nouhaud, and silver in the Men`s Standing by Vincent Gauthier-Manuel.
Vincent Gauthier-Manuel said: "The Super-G is a race where you really need to have a tough strategy to do well because it is very quick. I am happy with how I did."
The Super-G races in Sestriere today saw a total of 78 skiers from 20 countries, with many coming just short of bronze, including Australia`s Toby Kane in the Men`s Standing and Slovakia`s Jakub Krako with guide Dusan Simo in the Men`s Visually Impaired.
Both came in fourth place.
Toby Kane said: "I think I might have skiied just a little bit conservative. It skied maybe a bit easier than I expected, but I am carrying an injury so I just wanted to get down."
Jakub Krako said: "In my category we have a lot of really good skiers, so I think anyone could be on the podium, and we will see how it goes. I know that I do well in the more technical events."
Concerning their run today, many skiers were happy with their performance in the Super-G, regardless of their result.
Great Britain`s Talan Skeels-Piggins said: "I`m quite happy with how it went. I know that I can build on it and it`s given me good confidence for the next races. For me it was all about confident-building, getting a run under my belt and then I could move onto the next races."
Natasha de Troyer from Belgium, who plans on retiring after Sestriere, said that the bright sun today offered a few obstacles during her run which proved challenging.
"It`s difficult for me to see my guide with sun and shadows changing on the slope because of my visual impairment," de Troyer said. "When it is full sun or full shadow, then it is okay."
Her guide, who is also her father Werner de Troyer, said it was their first experience together in Sestriere as father and daughter.
"I have never done this before so I think we can be happy with our result," de Troyer`s father said. "The most important thing is that we came down safely and have a good feeling."
Competition will continue tomorrow, 19 January with the Super Combined race, which includes Super-G and Slalom.
Watch interviews with athletes from Sestriere at the official YouTube channel for ParalympicSport.TV at www.YouTube.com/ParalympicSportTV.
Taking place in Sestriere, Italy from 15-23 January 2011, over 130 athletes from 23 countries are competing at the venue which was used during the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games. The World Championships are the biggest gathering of Paralympic Winter Sport since the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
The 2011 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Sestriere include Downhill, Giant Slalom, Slalom, Super-G, Super Combined and Team events.