(Vars, France) In 1995, she won the World Championships silver medal and last Saturday she won the gold medal in a sport that frightens most people – speed skiing. Wearing a red latex suit and an aerodynamic helmet, without any other form of protection, the participants start from the top of a steep mountain. The speed is measured in the last 328 feet (100 meters) of the run.
– We were supposed to start from the top of the 4593 feet (1400 meter) long track, but due to the wind we had to start 164 feet (50 meters) further down, a happy Pettersen says.
-In the beginning of a race we stand sideways and have to rappel down the mountain. I concentrated very hard to do the task properly and quickly get into the right position. As the speed increased down the track I said to myself, “Hold!” I had to hold the position, and it went fine even though it was very windy.
After eight runs during the week there were only three female athletes left, and Pettersen was secured a medal.
Upcoming World Championships in 2015
The Speed Ski World Championships is held every second year.
– I was thinking that I was going to win the gold medal, and then quit the sports – but now I do not know anymore, Pettersen laughs.
Her aim is to raise enough money to attend the World Cup which starts in a few weeks in Canada. Swedish Idre also organizes two races, followed by Andorra and Verbier.
The World Championships final was dramatic. Pettersen was behind Swedish Sanna Tidstrand throughout the championship and was 1.9 mph (3 km/h) behind in the semi-finals. But the Norwegian veteran delivered when it counted the most, and won a quite superb victory – almost 1.2 mph (2 km/h) in front of her Swedish rival and current world record holder.
– In 1992, I drove at 132 mph (212 km/h) when speed skiing was a demonstration sport in Albertville, and I improved to 134 mph (215 km/h) during the championships in France. That I was going to manage 140 mph (225 km/h) was amazing, but it was actually a bit easier than the previous record race.
SPEED SKIING FACTS
The World Championships is hosted by FIS every second year. In 2011, there were 91 participants.
The skis are 7.9 feet (2.4 meters) long, the rods are bent and follow the body shape.
156.2 mph (251.4 km/h) is the world record for men, set by Italian Simone Origone in 2006.
Swedish Sanna Tidstrand holds the record for women at 150.738 mph (242.59 km/h)
Finn Arne Stavik, 150.737 mph (242.588 km/h) (2005) and Liss-Anne Pettersen 132.284 mph (212.892 km/h) (1992) are Norwegian record holders.
A short introduction to speed skiing:
Text by: ThorNews
Source and photo: Aftenposten
Categories: Sports & Health