After the injuries, the doubts and the pressure, Melanie Turgeon finally got a chance to laugh at all those who said she was done as a skier.
She won the gold medal in the downhill at the world championships yesterday in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the first time a Canadian has done that in 10 years.
"There have been so many highs and lows," she said. "I've overcome a lot of obstacles."
Alexandra Meissnitzer of Austria and Corinne Rey-Bellet of Switzerland shared the silver medal. For the United States, Jonna Mendes was sixth, Kirsten Clark was 19th, Libby Ludlow 23rd and Caroline Lalive 30th.
Turgeon's gold came 10 years after Kate Pace won the downhill for Canada at the worlds in Morioka, Japan.
"There was a lot of pressure. People who stopped believing in me and said I would never make it," said Turgeon, a 26-year-old from Quebec.
Turgeon, sixth in the opening super giant slalom, covered the sun-soaked Engiadina course in 1 minute 34.30 seconds. Meissnitzer and Rey-Bellet were 0.11 seconds behind.
Turgeon captured a record five medals at the 1994 junior worlds and finished fifth in her first World Cup race. However, she never has won a downhill on the World Cup circuit; her only victory was in a Super-G three years ago.
* SPEEDSKATING: Apolo Anton Ohno won the 1,000- and 3,000-meter World Cup short track races after being disqualified from races in each of the previous two days in Kearns, Utah.
The medals were the first for the U.S. team in the weekend's competition. . . .
Canada's Cindy Klassen won the title at the world all-around championships after finishing third in the last two races in Goteborg, Sweden.
Klassen is Canada's first female champion in 27 years. She had a total of 170,545 points in the four-race, two-day event.
Germany's Claudia Pechstein was second with 171,144 points and teammate Daniela Anschutz was third with 173,633. Japan's Maki Tabata won the 1,500 in 2:04.71 and placed 10th in the 5K for seventh overall. Clara Hughes, another Canadian, took the 5K in 7:25.88 and finished sixth overall.
* LUGE: Three-time Olympic champion Georg Hackl of Germany won the final World Cup singles race, but Markus Kleinheinz of Austria captured the season title in Winterberg, Germany.
* SKI JUMPING: Japan's Noriaki Kasai and Hideharu Miyahira finished first and second at a World Cup event cut to one attempt because of strong wind in Willingen, Germany. Slovenia's Robert Kranjec took third.
* BIATHLON: Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway and Kati Wilhelm of Germany won World Cup races in mass starts in Lahti, Finland.
* SNOWBOARDING: Nicolas Huet of France and Nicolien Saerbreu of the Netherlands won World Cup parallel slaloms in Maribor, Slovenia.