- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

GENEVA (AP) - Promising Swiss teenage skier Lara Gut is looking for a new coach after her personal mentor joined the Switzerland men’s team.

Mauro Pini is leaving the 17-year-old double world championship silver medalist to coach the men’s downhill racers, the Swiss ski federation said.

“Lara is a real phenomenon who has incredible talent and trains with great determination,” Pini said in a statement issued by Swiss-Ski from their Bern headquarters on Monday. “The years spent with her and the team have been unforgettable.”

Gut won her first World Cup race in December and is seen as one of the main challengers to American Lindsey Vonn at next year’s Vancouver Olympics.

“Team Lara Gut thanks Mauro for his work and wish him good luck for the future,” Gut’s management team said in a statement. “We don’t want to rush the appointment of a new coach but step back and find the best solution.”

Gut finished second behind Vonn, the two-time overall World Cup champion, in the downhill at the world championships in France in February. Gut also took silver in the super-combi, where Vonn was disqualified while leading in the slalom leg.

Pini succeeds Patrice Morisod, who last week took a more lucrative offer to coach France’s downhill skiers.

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