Traa turns on the style in women’s moguls
Norway's Kari Traa had been one of the world's leading moguls skiers for many years. Her talent was never in doubt, and it had taken her to a bronze medal in Nagano.
A year after the Nagano Games, she took silver medals in both the moguls and parallel moguls at the 1999 World Championships and over the next two years established herself as the best in the world. Going into the 2001 Worlds, Traa was the clear favourite and she duly took both titles.
Her performances in early 2002 were even more spectacular, as she secured victories in all but one of the World Cup races she contested leading up to Salt Lake City.
The only woman to have beaten Traa during that season was the American Shannon Bahrke, who had recovered from serious illness earlier in her career to become the Norwegian’s main rival.
Traa qualified first from the preliminary round of the moguls in Salt Lake City, with Bahrke easing through comfortably in fifth position. And it was the American who then set the benchmark, with a score of 25.06 that rewarded a fine acrobatic display and a fast time. It was a good total – but not an unbeatable one.
Traa set about the challenge with utter determination. She top scored for both air and turns and even picked up the third best time, giving Traa victory over Bahrke by 25.94 points to 25.06. That impressive margin of 0.88pts was bigger than the gap between the next six athletes!
Traa carried on for another four years, taking silver at the 2005 World Championships and then winning silver at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, before retiring from competition a year later.