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SKIING / WORLD CUP FINALS : Moe Looks for Respect to Go With Stardom

March 16, 1994|CHRIS DUFRESNE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VAIL, Colo. — Obviously not satisfied with mere Olympic glory, American Tommy Moe enters the World Cup finals this week with a chance to prove he is a fixture in Alpine skiing, not a fluke.

Moe, winner of gold and silver medals at the Lillehammer Olympics, is looking to become the first American to win an individual World Cup title since Phil Mahre in 1983.

With his first World Cup victory at Whistler, Canada, last weekend, Moe moved to within 47 points of Luxembourg's Marc Girardelli in the super-G standings.

Mahre won his title in giant slalom.

While Olympic victories make stars, respect among skiers is attained through achievements on the World Cup circuit, where champions are determined based on consistent performances throughout the season.

Moe is not content with flash-in-the-pan success. The 24-year-old from Girdwood, Alaska, proved it last weekend by finishing third in the Whistler downhill on Saturday and winning the super-G on Sunday.

Moe leads a world-class field into the final week of World Cup competition, which begins today with a downhill, followed by a super-G Thursday, a giant slalom on Saturday and a slalom on Sunday.

Unlike the Olympics, men and women compete on the same day in each event. In disciplines where World Cup point totals are close, final races will determine the champions in the four events--downhill, super-G, GS and slalom--and perhaps the overall winner.

Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt holds a comfortable points lead over Girardelli in the men's overall standings, but the women's race between Switzerland's Vreni Schneider and Sweden's Pernilla Wiberg is close, with the winner to be determined this week.

Moe, with his most recent victory, moved to seventh in the overall standings and has a legitimate chance to overtake Girardelli in the super-G.

"I'm refocused," Moe said after finishing third in Tuesday's downhill training run. "I want to put on a good show for the home crowd. I'm confident now. I've had five top-threes this season and any time I get in the start in downhill or super-G, I feel I can win."

Skiing Notes

A total of $220,000 prize money will be awarded this week. The money breakdown for each race: $16,500 for first, $8,250 for second and $2,750 for third. . . . The top 20 skiers in each discipline are guaranteed starts in the finals based on World Cup points. Defending Olympic champions are also invited, which saved super-G gold medalist Diann Roffe-Steinrotter of the United States, who would not have qualified otherwise. Also receiving invitations are Junior World and Europa Cup champions, the top three finishers in the NorAm series championships, and World Cup skiers who have amassed more than 400 World Cup points. As it stands, Olympic silver medalist Picabo Street is only eligible to ski today's downhill, but could surpass the 400-point mark with a good performance, which would qualify her for Thursday's super-G. . . Luxembourg's Marc Girardelli probably will not catch Kjetil Andre Aamodt to win an unprecedented sixth World Cup overall championship, but he is the points leader in both downhill and super-G.

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