Tina Maze goes for another medal in Alpine combined Monday

BY foxsports • February 9, 2015

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) All Tina Maze wants to do is ski. Not race ski, but fun ski - cruising through trees like she sees everyone else doing as she rides up the lifts each day.

No time for that right now. Too many medals to try to win.

The 31-year-old Slovenian is on a quest to win five medals at the world championships. She's 2 for 2 so far - silver in the super-G, gold in the downhill - with a chance to capture another Monday in the women's Alpine combined, an event that mixes one run of downhill with one run of slalom.

She's trying to equal Norwegian great Lasse Kjus, who earned five medals at the 1999 worlds in Beaver Creek.

''I know I can be the one who can do the same thing,'' Maze said.

Her biggest challengers Monday will be Lara Gut of Switzerland and Austria's Anna Fenninger, who has a gold (super-G) and a silver (downhill) at these championships. Americans Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Vonn are factors, too. Although, Vonn hasn't done that much slalom training in recent years.

There aren't many skiers who compete in every event like Maze - and are good in all of them.

''It's a heavy burden, for those skiers who do it,'' said retired Swedish skier Anja Paerson, who won seven world titles in her career. ''Tina, she's a great championship racer. So she could totally do it. It's all up to her. If she runs the way she's doing now, if she doesn't make mistakes, she will always be in the medals.

''She's on that level at the moment, where she could ski 80 percent and still be top three.''

Although it's an exhausting endeavor, Maze said if she didn't do all the events, she would be bored.

When her pursuit of medals is complete, Maze has one last mission in mind before leaving Beaver Creek.

''Go out (skiing) in the trees where I see all the people having fun,'' Maze said. ''We have fun on the slopes. But sometimes it would be nice to be here to ski all over the place, where you see those trees. My dream on the last day is to go into the trees and just use the trees for the gates.''

Here are things to know after Marcel Hirscher of Austria made up for a mediocre downhill run in the men's Alpine combined Sunday with a flawless slalom run to take the gold medal in the event:

BAD CRASH: There was a frightening moment in the downhill portion of the race when Ondrej Bank of the Czech Republic crashed near the finish line. He was taken off the course on a sled and to the hospital. Race officials said he was able to move on his own and underwent a CT scan at the hospital, which was clear. He suffered a concussion, cuts on his face and a bruised leg.

MOVING UP: Because Bank straddled the gate on his downhill crash, he was disqualified. It benefited Hirscher, who moved up from 31st to 30th, and the skier in 30th goes first in the slalom. Hirscher was the first one to attack the fresh, rut-free course. A big advantage because had he started No. 31, Hirscher said, ''I wouldn't have won. ... You always need luck to be in first position.''

STRONG PUSH: After his downhill run, American Ted Ligety thought his medal chances were over. Not so as he used a strong slalom to earn bronze. ''It was cool for sure, whenever you win a medal it's awesome,'' said Ligety, who's from Park City, Utah. ''To be able to ski that well in the slalom was encouraging.''

LEAVING ON A JET PLANE: Norway's Kjetil Jansrud was expected to win a medal in the super-G and downhill. He didn't in either. He wasn't supposed to be in contention during the Alpine combined. He was, earning a silver medal. ''It's a great feeling to leave the champs with a medal,'' said Jansrud, who will skip the giant slalom for more training. ''It's way better getting on an airplane with a medal.''

THIRD MEDAL: With Ligety's bronze, the Americans now have three medals through five events. ''Performing on home snow is great,'' said Steven Nyman, who's from Sundance, Utah. ''I think the crowd is loving it. It's amazing right now.''

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