Tompkins gets gold - again

Juneau monoskier aces first tune-up for Paralympic Games

Posted: Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Juneau monoskier Joe Tompkins earned another spot at the top of the podium Tuesday, winning the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals gold medal in the Downhill event for the fourth overall World Cup gold of his career.

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Courtesy Of Joe Tompkins
Courtesy Of Joe Tompkins

Tompkins, 41, is in Aspen, Colo., and has three more chances to medal beginning with today's second downhill event, at 9:30 a.m. Alaska time, before Thursday's Super-G and Friday's Super Combined races.

The World Cup Finals are Tompkins' last tune-ups before he's off to Vancouver for the Paralympic Games, his third time making the U.S. team, which begin March 12.

"As I was coming down I was thinking it was going well," he said of the race, which he finished in 1:13.16, more than a second ahead of second-place Thomas Nolte (1:14.34). "You get going so fast ... and the adrenaline is flowing, when you don't make any mistakes - that's the key - and you hit the line that you and your coaches set when you inspect it, you feel pretty good about it.

"If you hit the line, you know you're going to do pretty well."

Tompkins said the best part about winning his fourth gold medal was the fact that his son, Donald, was there to see it.

"I'm very excited because my son was just complaining that I never win one when he's there and I always do it when he's gone," he chuckled. "But it was a tough course; pretty much a rodeo. There were 14 guys that didn't even finish."

Today's downhill is similar to Tuesday's, so Tompkins is hopeful for another medal.

"It's the same kind of race and if I do my line right, I've got a good shot," he said. "The first downhill training was (three) days ago and I won that at 1:15, and then (Monday) I ran a 1:18-something and made a huge mistake.

"Today, I just figured I had to go for it."

Tompkins claimed his third World Cup gold medal in a Downhill in Klosters, Switzerland in 2005, his second in a Super-G event in 2004 in Abtenau, Austria, and his first in 1999's two-run Downhill event in Breckinridge, Colo.

Tompkins said Tuesday's win was a good start toward earning that elusive Paralympic Games gold medal he missed out on in 2006 in Torino, Italy, and 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"Different hills, different circumstances so you never know," he said. "But that's what I'm looking for. This a stepping stone in the right direction."

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