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Alpine skiing: Cool and calm - Worley's ticket to world gold

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Shutting out the media buzz and focusing solely on her skiing was French racer Tessa Worley's ticket to the giant slalom world title on Thursday.

The 23-year-old put in two dominant lead runs to finish with an aggregate time of 2min 08.06sec, a full 1.12sec ahead of Slovenian star Tina Maze, whose silver was her third medal of these worlds.

"It seems simple but when you're at an event like this one, you have everything that makes you think that you're at the world championships, that there's a medal at the end that you can maybe win," Worley said.

"There's a big crowd, a lot of media. So I just wanted to think about skiing and not about everything that was around... I just thought about it when I passed the finish line at the end and then I was very, very happy."

Already leading by more than half a second after the first run, Worley kept her cool to blaze through her second outing on the Planai course in sunny, cold conditions.

"It's about work. I had some races where it was a bit too difficult to keep calm, but today it was all about that," she said.

"I knew if I wanted to succeed I had to stay calm between the two runs, not to think about the results and just to ski as fast as I could, just like the first run."

Worley, who was born to a French mother and Australian father, and took home France's fourth medal of these championships, also credited the course for giving her a good feeling during both runs.

"These are the conditions I like," she said. "I love very hard and icy, but it was still not too extreme so we could ski well enough to have a good sensation and go fast.

"Sometimes you have a race and have bad feelings. Today it was pretty nice to ski on it. The slope was great."

Topping the medals table with two golds, one silver and one bronze, France have had an extraordinary championships, and Worley expressed her hope that her team's success would further raise the sport's profile at home.

"A lot of people are starting to follow us and with all the medals, people are watching and following and supporting us even more. It's great for us and we just want to keep going.

"Now I just want to keep going on the skis I had today and just do this every day," she said enthusiastically.

Maze, pocketing her third medal at these championships after super-G gold and super-combined silver, was beaming after securing a second place despite what she considered a bad first run.

"It's a good day in the end. It was not an easy day," said the unusually candid Slovenian, for whom winning usually looks like a piece of cake.

"It's hard to keep this high level all the time... every day it's a new battle," said the current runaway leader in the overall World Cup.

"Winning a medal is great but when you have battles like this, you're even happier."

Austrian Anna Fenninger, who had struggled last week against high expectations and pressure from the home public and media clamouring for medals, was visibly relieved by her bronze.

"It was a really difficult world championship. I'm just happy for today, it was my last chance for a medal," said the 23-year-old, who had bagged gold in the super-combined in Garmisch in 2011 as a relative unknown.

"I came to the world championship to win a medal, but today I managed for the first time not to think of what kind of result I could get but just how I could ski well.

"Today I managed to stay cool. That's the recipe," she said, mirroring Worley's comments. "I gave my best and I'm very happy."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130214/alpine-skiing-cool-and-calm-worleys-ticket-world-gold