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Konrad Top American Women Finisher in 30K Freestyle

2006 Torino Olympics

Fri, Feb  24, 2006 - By US Ski Team

PRAGELATO, Italy (Feb. 24) - Sarah Konrad (Laramie, WY) was the top U.S. finisher in Friday's cross country 30km freestyle race as she was 32nd. Rebecca Dussault (Gunnison, CO) was 43rd, Abigail Larson (Bozeman, MT) was 47th and Lindsey Weier (Mahtomedi, MN) did not finish.

Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic skied her way to gold in the mass start race, finishing in 1:22:25.4. Russian Julija Tchepalova won silver in 1:22:26.8 and Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk was the bronze medalist with a time of 1:22:27.5.

Konrad's time of 1:28:39.2 was good for 32nd place. Konrad is the first woman in U.S. history to compete in two different sports at the Winter Olympics. Prior to joining the Ski Team and racing in the relay (U.S. finished 14th), Konrad also competed in biathlon.

"I'm definitely not happy with the result," said Konrad. "I would have liked to get further, but I just didn't have it in my legs to move that fast in the beginning, and once the gaps were there I wasn't able to do anything with it. I tried to be smart and stay where I was and finish strong. I'm satisfied with it but I would have liked to have done better."

Following Konrad was Dussault in 1:31:43.3 and Larson in 1:32:51.9.

Dussault suffered from a sinus problem that became severe in October, preventing her from training for much of the winter. She finished 48th in the Olympic pursuit back on Feb. 12.

"It was a great race," said Dussault. "I haven't skied 30K in over two years. With the fitness that I have this year, which isn't optimal, I made the best of it. I finally have felt good here at the Olympics, but I'm just not that fit. I've done like eight sets of intervals all winter. You're usually doing eight in a month, not eight in five months or whatever. It's a good end. I was healthy enough and I did enough things right that I was here, and then I raced to the best of my ability."

Larson has now competed in three events at her first Olympics. She was 56th in the pursuit and 57th in the 10km classical.

"It was fun; it was what it was," said Larson. "I skied my own race. I was hoping to feel a little bit better and a little bit stronger. It was kind of unfortunate but I didn't really have much of a pack to ski with after the first lap, so the second and third laps I pretty much skied by myself. It was a couple of people off and on...pass a few people, get passed by a few people."

The men ski the 50km freestyle mass start Sunday. Scheduled to race for the U.S. is Kris Freeman (Andover, NH), Andrew Johnson (Greensboro, VT), James Southam (Anchorage, AK) and Carl Swenson (Park City, UT). It is the final ski event of the Torino Olympics.

Pragelato, ITA - Feb. 24, 2006
Cross Country Women's 30km F Mass Start

1. Katerina Neumannova, Czech Republic, 1:22:25.4
2. Julija Tchepalova, Russia, 1:22:26.8
3. Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland, 1:22:27.5
4. Kristin Steira Stoermer, Norway, 1:22:40.8
5. Gabriella Paruzzi, Italy, 1:23:00.8
32. Sarah Konrad, Laramie, Wyo., 1:28:39.2
43. Rebecca Dussault, Gunnison, Colo., 1:31:43. 3
47. Abigail Larson, Bozeman, Mont., 1:32:51.9
Did not finish:
Lindsey Weier, Mahtomedi, Minn.