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Sunday, 17 February, 2002, 21:39 GMT

Learner and legend take titles

BBC Sport's skiing commentator Martin Bell reflects on both super-G competitions and yet another unexpected alpine skiing gold at Salt Lake City.

Daniela Ceccarelli's super-G win was undoubtedly the surprise of the alpine events so far.

Carol Montillet's downhill win a few days ago was also a bit of a shock.

But despite that fact she had never won a World Cup downhill before, she had enjoyed a super-G victory.

However, Ceccarelli has never won a World Cup race.

She has been on the podium in the past, but it's just one of those times when a racer on the way up comes good at the biggest occasion.

People tend to forget how unpredictable the sport can be.

The time differences are so small, the runs are so long and the conditions are hugely variable.

It comes down to who can nail the perfect run, and even then it's normally a case of who makes the least mistakes.

Ceccarelli's run may not have been perfect, but it was pretty solid.

She skied the middle section really well and she won the race over the Draba drop.

It's a risky tactic to keep turning right off the edge of the jump, but it paid off.

She flew further than most of the other girls, but she had enough of her turn done so that she was flying in the right direction.

Risky, but not lucky.

She skied fantastically on a technically difficult course which indicates that she should go on to become one of the world's best super-G skiers.

In the men's event it was a case of the world's best - at one and two.

Stephan Eberharter complained about the lack of support from his coaches after coming home second and I think he had a point.

Fritz Strobl used the excuse that there wasn't enough of a detailed warning over the problem gate, but having said, that Kjetil Andre Aamodt went early and didn't have any troubles.

It was possibly a case of one racer going the wrong way and the subsequent skiers following the same track and taking the turn too straight.

As for Aamodt, he has an amazing record and he's the skier of the Games so far... but they're not over yet.

If he wins a medal in the slalom he will have one from every alpine skiing discipline at the Olympics.

That really would be something and and I think he has a 50-50 chance of pulling it off.

Gold may be beyond him with Bode Miller in the field, but it promises to be fascinating.


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