New alpine heights
15 February 2013
ALPINE SKIING: Australia’s lone female alpine ranger Greta Small skied to 45th in the Giant Slalom at the World Ski Championships in Schladming, Germany on Thursday.
The 17-year-old produced a solid opening run to put her in the top 51 out of 138 competitors and qualify for a second run. Small improved on her time again to finish 45th with an aggregate time of 2min 21.13sec.
Small’s impressive Super Combined 25th place remains her strongest performance at her debut World Championships.
But the Giant Slalom spotlight was stolen by Tessa Worley who has family ties to Australia and clocked a lightning fast aggregate of 2min 08.06sec.
Worley’s mother is French and father Steven is Australian. The 23-year-old spent her early years on snow split between Mt Robert in New Zealand where her father was a ski instructor and the slopes of France.
She has been a member of the French Alpine Skiing Team since 2004 and represented France at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver where she finished 16th in the Giant Slalom.
In 2010 Worley was one of 12 female alpine skiers in the French Olympic Winter Team in Vancouver, while Australia was not represented in the women’s events.
Worley, who speaks and tweets in both French and English, became the fourth French World Champion at this year’s competition. She also became the first Frenchwoman to win the Giant Slalom event since Carole Merle in 1993.
Australia’s last Alpine World Champion was four-time Olympian Zali Steggall who won gold in Slalom at the 1999 World Championships after claiming bronze in the event at the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Teenage Small lists Steggall as one of her heroes as she strives to qualify for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Australia was last represented in women’s alpine skiing in 2002 and Small is sitting comfortably inside the top 500 on FIS points rankings for Olympic qualification.