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ROSA KHUTOR, Russia, March 8 (R-Sport) – Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber edged out her rivals at Rosa Khutor on Saturday to win the women's sitting downhill ski event.
It is the first Paralympic gold for the 21-year-old, who has been dominating in World Cup competition this season, and the second gold in Sochi for her country after Andrea Eskau won the opening biathlon event of the Paralympics.
"It's awesome. I didn't expect to do so well. It is a very high level of performance in Paralympic sport," said Schaffelhuber. "There is no pressure now that I have my gold. Of course I want to win the other races and I want to do my best but we will just have to see how it goes."
Silver and bronze went to the United States, with Alana Nichols just 0.14 seconds off the winning time, while third-placed Laurie Stephens was 1.39 seconds down.
"I'm very satisfied today. For me, claiming this silver medal is like a win," Nichols said. "I didn't ski as well as I wanted today. I hung in there and I'm happy winning silver considering the mistakes I made. Today was not my best. I want to do better in super G."
Two-time Vancouver 2010 gold medalist Claudia Loesch of Austria crashed out.
Earlier in the day, Slovakian skier Henrieta Farkasova blew away the opposition to win the visually impaired event for her fourth career Pralympic gold. Britain’s Jade Etherington claimed silver, missing out on the chance to win her country’s first Winter Paralympic gold, while local hero Alexandra Frantseva was third.
In the standing competition, French skier Marie Bochet beat Inga Medvedeva of Russia into second place. The bronze went to veteran Allison Jones of the United States, who took her fourth career Winter Paralympic medal.
The events used the principle of so-called “calculated time,” in which each athlete’s time is modified by a percentage reflecting the extent of their disability.
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