World Cup's Dramatic Finale

When the pressure was on, Angela Eiter of Austria and Tomás Mrázek of the Czech Republic never flinched in a dramatic conclusion to the 2004 World Cup. Eiter and Mrázek each defeated the longtime defending champions for the World Cup title by winning the last competition of the season, Nov. 21 in Kranj, Slovenia.

Eiter went into the final comp trailing five-time World Cup champion Muriel Sarkany of Belgium. To take the overall title, the 18-year-old Austrian had to win in Kranj — and Sarkany had to finish third or worse. And that’s exactly what happened: Eiter stood atop the podium in Kranj, while Sarkany, who hoped to win her fourth title in a row (and sixth in eight years), could only manage fifth place. The 30-year-old Belgian ended the season as the World Cup runner-up.

Mrázek had it a bit easier at the final comp, as he came to Kranj with the series lead. Alex Chabot of France, gunning for his fourth World Cup title in a row, needed to win or place second in Kranj to earn the crown. But the Frenchman faded to fifth, giving the 22-year-old Czech a well-earned overall victory. Mrázek had been waiting in the wings for years: He was sixth in the World Cup in 2003, second in 2002, and third in 2001.

Kranj, Slovenia November 20-21

Men 1. Tomás Mrázek (CZE) 2. Evgeni Ovtchinnikov (RUS) 3. Jorg Verhoeven (NED) 4. Patxi Usobiaga (SPA) 5. Alex Chabot (FRA)

Women 1. Angela Eiter (AUT) 2. Natalija Gros (SLO) 3. Maja Vidmar (SLO) 3. Sandrine Levet (FRA) 5. Muriel Sarkany (BEL) 2004 World Cup Overall Men 1. Tomás Mrázek (CZE) 2. Alex Chabot (FRA) 3. Flavio Crespi (ITA)

Women 1. Angela Eiter (AUT) 2. Muriel Sarkany (BEL) 3. Alexadra Eyer (SWI) 3. Natalija Gros (SLO)