Snowboarding-Krol eyes Olympic medal after first World Cup win

Polish snowboarder Aleksandra Krol is hoping her third time at the Winter Olympics will prove lucky as she targets a podium finish in Beijing buoyed up by her first World Cup win.

The 31-year-old could emerge as a dark horse at the Games, set to start on Feb. 4, after coming first in the parallel giant slalom in Simonhoehe, Austria, on Jan. 14.

"I'm not interested in the place I had at the previous Olympics. I'm going there to fight for my dream, which is the Olympic medal," she told local Polish newspaper Gazeta Krakowska on Monday.

Krol said there was little room for error in Beijing given how tight competition was at World Cup events.

"It's never easy to win, you have to fight to the end in each run and do your best. The rides must be practically perfect," she said.

"The top 16 girls to race in the final (of the World Cup) are practically on the same level, so the competition is very fierce."

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Born in Zakopane, a popular winter sports destination in Poland, Krol started snowboarding at the age of seven. She turned professional in her first year of high school.

"During a trip to Austria with my parents, I rebelled and said that I would not wear skis. My parents had no choice but to lend me a board, thinking I would be quickly discouraged," she said.

"To their surprise, I was doing very well, better than skiing."

(Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk; editing by Clare Fallon)

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