Medal-hungry Maze targets giant slalom

Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:32pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

VAIL, Colorado (Reuters) - Snow queen Tina Maze will once again command the spotlight at the alpine ski world championships as she continues her quest for a rare five-medal haul at Beaver Creek in the women's giant slalom on Thursday.

Already the winner of two golds and a silver here in the Vail Valley where she has displayed regal form, the 31-year-old Slovenian will be a red-hot favorite to add a fourth podium finish to her tally from the last nine days.

Giant slalom world champion at Garmisch in 2011, Maze finished second in the event two years ago at Schladming and will be tough to beat down the plunging Raptor racecourse at Beaver Creek where she has been near impregnable.

"It wasn't easy for me to understand the Raptor course at first, but when I understood the timings of the turns and where you should start the turn, it was much easier for me," said Maze.

"It's a hard hill to ski but when you ski like I have been skiing at these worlds, it's so much fun."

Maze is on track to join Norway's Lasse Kjus as the only skiers to win medals in all five disciplines at a single world championships, needing two more podium finishes to emulate him.

Kjus accomplished the feat in 1999 and Maze has the giant slalom and the slalom on Saturday to complete her set.

"I know I can be in each event on the podium and it would be amazing to do that," said the Slovenian, who won golds in the blue riband downhill and the combined and a silver in the Super-G at Beaver Creek.   Continued...

Feb 9, 2015; Vail, CO, USA; Tina Maze of Slovenia with her gold medal during the medals ceremony for the women's alpine combined in the FIS alpine skiing world championships at Championships Plaza. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports