Yongpyong, Korea – The Austrian team put its red and white mark on the debut of Yongpyong, Korea, as a host site of the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup on Wednesday, as a total of three out of six possible parallel slalom (PSL) podium spots were taken by riders from the small European country.nWhile Austrian rider Marion Kreiner was able to relegate Swiss Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli, Svetlana Boldykova (RUS) and Doris Guenther (AUT) to the second to fourth rank on the women’s side, Austrians Benjamin Karl and Siegfried Grabner were able to celebrate a 1-2 punch atop the men’s podium. Italian Aaron March came in third, edging out Manuel Veith of Austria in the small final to prevent an Austrian podium sweep.
It was the eleventh World Cup win for Kreiner and Karl; however, a triumph with different relevance for each. On the one hand, Kreiner, 29, found redemption for disappointing results at the last World Championships held in La Molina, Spain, at the end of last month.
“I wasn’t in a bad shape at the World Championships. It just didn’t work out,” Kreiner said. “But this is our discipline. Today, everything worked out again. And this is a good feeling. I can’t really believe it yet and have to realize it. But it’s a good sign that I was able to tie on to the shape I had before I went to the World Champs.”
On the other hand, Karl, who became the most successful participant of the last Worlds grabbing two Gold medals, enjoyed a different personal best.
“This is the fourth consecutive race I won. To my knowledge, the current record held by Philipp (Schoch, SUI) is five wins in a row,” Karl said. “And I want to crack it.”
In addition, the runner-up at the Vancouver Olympics extended his lead in the Parallel World Cup standings. Prior to the race in Korea, Karl had been in front by the tiny lead of only 10 points over teammate Andreas Prommegger, who lost some precious points thanks to his defeat in the eighth finals, finally finishing 12th. Karl now leads comfortably with 3,910 points. His strongest pursuers are Roland Fischnaller (ITA, 3,120), Prommegger (3,100) and Aaron March (3,100).
On the women’s side, World Cup leader, Russian Ekaterina Tudegesheva, lost some of her advantage due to a ninth Place finish. Although she still sits on the top spot of the World Cup rankings with 4,180 points she already feels the pressure as Maegert-Kohli has now collected a total of 3,910 to breathe down her neck.
“I didn’t know that it would be that close. But I don’t count at all,” Maegert-Kohli said. “We have still four races to go, so it will be a close battle. I’m just happy with the result and with my riding. I felt good the whole day, starting already in the qualifiers.”
The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup will continue in Asia as the first event to ever be held in China, a halfpipe contest, will be staged in Yabuli this Sunday.
2011 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup
Yongpyong, Korea – Feb. 9, 2011
1. Marion Kreiner (AUT)
2. Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli (SUI)
3. Svetlana Boldykova (RUS)
1. Benjamin Karl (AUT)
2. Siegfried Grabner (AUT)
3. Aaron March (ITA)