Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sofia Goggia Wins Downhill Gold

Sofia Goggia of Italy confirmed her position as the current best downhiller in the world by claiming Olympic gold at PyeongChang 2018. Ragnhild Mowinckel on Norway was the surprise silver medallist, just 0.09 seconds off Goggia's pace. Lindsey Vonn of the United States completed the podium with bronze.
Goggia, 25, had already won two World Cup downhills and won last year’s test event on the Olympic course at Jeongseon Alpine Centre. But these Games marked her Olympic debut. She became the first Italian woman to win a downhill Olympic gold medal.
Goggia was slightly off the pace on the traverse and skied off of Dragon’s Claw in the backset. But she found nearly half a second between intermediates three and four, building her best speed into Magic Valley. From Dragon’s Back onwards, her pace was impressive, and she easily outpaced Tina Weirather (LIE), then in top spot, with Vonn still to come.
"I still haven’t quite realized yet. I think I’ll realize when I’m on the podium. I’m very proud. I feel so focused on the day that I haven’t realized yet what I’ve done. It’s about me and my skiing and not the others", said Goggia.
Ragnhild Mowinckel, starting 19th, was not expected to trouble the leaders. She fought the whole way down with smooth, clean runs through the Dragon’s Back and Magic Valley. The 25-year-old had never finished higher than sixth on the World Cup downhill tour.
She screamed in delight at her spectacular run, as she became the first Norwegian woman to win an Olympic downhill medal. Weirather, her good friend who she bumped off the podium, was the first to congratulate her.
"I know I've taken big steps in downhill all season and I've built up all the time, and then bringing the confidence from my giant slalom medal too. Just knowing that my skiing at the moment is pretty solid, I tried to bring that into today and just go for it. Up to now, I've only ever been sixth in a downhill so this is such a good result", said Mowinckel.
Lindsey Vonn added to the sense that the ladies' downhill would be a head-to-head battle with Goggia by talking this week about how she watches film of Goggia’s line in training and makes appropriate adjustments. But Vonn’s homework didn’t quite pay off, with Goggia finishing a comfortable 0.47 seconds ahead of Vonn. Vonn’s bronze in PyeongChang follows her gold and bronze medals at Vancouver 2010, and she became the oldest female Olympic medallist with her efforts.
A mistake kept Vonn off the podium in the super-G on 17 February, and the most successful female World Cup alpine skier of all time bowed her head as Mowinckel nudged her down to third place. Vonn, who is 33, has said she will almost certainly retire before the next Games, and was true to her promise on social media the day before the downhill event: "There’s only one thing I can guarantee – I will give everything I have".

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Marcel Hirscher Wins Giant Slalom and Grabs 2nd Gold Medal in Pyeongchang 2018

Pre-race favorite Marcel Hirscher of Austria lived up to and exceeded the hype on Sunday at PyeongChang 2018 as he claimed his second gold medal of these Olympic Winter Games in the men's giant slalom. The master craftsman who seemed only to be missing Olympic gold from his resume prior to his trip to South Korea now has two to his name. With his victory, he became the 10th male alpine skier to win multiple gold medals at a single Winter Games and the first since his fellow countryman Benni Raich in 2006.
Despite a hefty lead after the first run, Hirscher did not let up on his second run and ultimately bested the field by a massive 1.27 seconds. Not since Jean-Claude Killy won the 1968 GS by more than 2 seconds had there been such a wide gap between first and second.
"Wow. It was not so easy to be the absolute favorite in this discipline, then sitting up there as the leader from the first run knowing that Henrik ripped it. I had no choice, I knew I have to give 100 percent and I have to go into this battle", Hirscher told reporters.
His nearest competitor was the familiar face of Henrik Kristoffersen, but the Norwegian had to battle back from 10th place after the first run to secure the second Olympic medal of his career and first in giant slalom with silver.
"Marcel is at the moment unbeatable in giant slalom... At the moment he's just way better than anybody else", said Kristoffersen.The second-place challenger from the first run, Alexis Pinturault of France, skied an equally solid second run to finish with bronze, matching his performance at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games and adding to his alpine combined silver from earlier at PyeongChang 2018.
"It was a good fight but Marcel was a step ahead as he has been all year", said the Frenchman,
Clear weather but challenging course setting, changing snow conditions from top to bottom, and the intensity of the Games proved quite difficult for a number of the world's best competitors.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Snowboard Champion Ester Ledecka Shocks with Super-G Gold

Snowboard World Cup parallel world champion Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic, who is the first athlete to compete in two different sports at an Olympic Winter Games, crossed the finish line in the ladies’ super-G in absolute disbelief. Wearing bib 26, she charged down the course, not without error, but always with speed under her feet. At the finish line, the scoreboard showed a green light with a 0.01-second advantage over defending gold medalist Anna Veith of Austria.
The athlete, who had never secured a World Cup podium in alpine skiing but who has handfuls in snowboarding, thought the clock was mistaken. Even after the cameraman in the finish area told her she was the winner, she could not believe the time.
"How did that happen", she asked while shaking her head."I don't know. I am so surprised about all of it. I'm really trying to win and do a good run every time but I didn't really realize that this really can happen. I was probably the only snowboarder on site. All the other girls didn't risk a lot. There must be a lot of pressure on them. I was just trying to do my best run".
Despite being bumped to silver, Veith still completed her incredible comeback story following a two-year return from a devastating knee injury. To even be on the podium was a massive accomplishment for the Austrian who has battled to return to top form on the World Cup circuit.
Tina Weirather, a regular on the World Cup super-G podium and last season’s discipline standings winner, became the sixth athlete and third woman from Liechtenstein to claim a medal at the Olympic Games with bronze on the day. Weirather now joins her mother, Hanni Wenzel, with a medal of her own.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Frida Hansdotter Wins Gold in Women's Slalom

The ladies' Olympic slalom podium was claimed on Friday by three first-time medallists – two of whom are World Cup veterans and one a young gun. Frida Hansdotter of Sweden went full attack in the second run to claim her first Olympic medal, and it was gold. She finished fifth in the Sochi slalom and sixth the previous day in the PyeongChang giant slalom. No stranger to the podium during the non-Olympic competition, Hansdotter was the 2017 World Championships bronze medallist in slalom and won the slalom discipline title on the World Cup tour in 2016.
At 32 years and 65 days, Hansdotter is the second-oldest Swedish woman to win an individual event at an Olympic Winter Games.
"I knew it would be tough, Mikaela has been so strong this season", Hansdotter said. "I was maybe a little bit surprised. It's nice for me to beat her for once because she has been beating me so many times".
Wendy Holdener of Switzerland, who skied the fastest first run of the day, fell a tight 0.05 seconds shy of the Swede after the second run which featured wind gusts on the top of the slope that slightly complicated matters for all racers. Holdener is the 2017 World Championships silver medallist in slalom, and she also has a gold medal in alpine combined from the same outing. The silver and her ninth-place finish in yesterday giant slalom have been a massive improvement for Holdener over her previous Olympic performances where she failed to finish both of her races in Sochi.
The surprise of the day was 20-year-old Austrian Katharina Gallhuber with bib 15 who dug deep within herself on the second run to move up from ninth place into the bronze medal position. Although Gallhuber has six top-10 finishes on the World Cup, she has yet to secure a podium on the tour. She finished 0.32 seconds off Hansdotter's winning pace.
Pre-race favorite and defending Sochi gold medallist Mikaela Shiffrin had an uncharacteristic day finishing just shy of the podium in fourth place.

Matthias Mayer Takes Gold in PyeongChang Super-G

Austrian Matthias Mayer, the Sochi 2014 downhill gold medalist who finished Wednesday's race in a disappointing ninth place, rallied against the odds on Thursday to claim Olympic gold in super-G. In doing so, he ended a Norwegian golden streak in the event that has carried over the past four Games. Starting with bib 15, Mayer bumped Norway's Kjetil Jansrud from the lead, but Jansrud was able to end the day with his second medal of the Games, this time a bronze.
A day after Aksel Lund Svindal became the first man to have won golds in both the Olympic men’s speed events, the Sochi downhill champion matched him with a masterclass in turning at pace down the Jeongseon slope.
Disregarding the pain of the hip injury he sustained when he collided with a TV cameraman during Tuesday’s combined, Mayer carved his way down the mountain in 24.44 seconds in perfect conditions at the Jeongseon Alpine Center.
"Four years ago I won the downhill and now today I‘m Olympic champion in super-G. I have no words for that (...) I was not sure thinking about my hip today. There was a point when I thought I might not be able to run the downhill and it’s still a bit blue but the medical guys have done a great job.", said Mayer.
On the fast and open course set, downhill bronze medallist Beat Feuz of Switzerland upgraded his hardware for silver in the super-G.
"Really great. Second medal for these Olympic Games is really nice for me. That's a dream for me. I hope in four years I come back for the gold medal", said Feuz.
The first two starters in the race, Peter Fill and Mauro Caviezel, failed to complete the course, as did 11 additional competitors. Spectators and athletes alike were greeted by sunny, blue skies throughout the competition.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Gold in Women's Giant Slalom in Pyeongchang

Mikaela Shiffrin wasted no time in her medal hunt at PyeongChang 2018 as the technical ace picked up her second career gold medal on Thursday, but this time in giant slalom. As one of the pre-race favorites, she was expected to perform well but was likely to face a number of serious challengers. Mikaela Shiffrin sat in second place after the first run but was able to claim victory with a quick second run.
The 22-year-old is set to race in the downhill, combined and slalom, but has pulled out of the super G because of a compressed schedule following postponements earlier in the week.
Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway, a relative outsider who has only finished on a World Cup giant slalom podium once before, lived up to the Attacking Viking moniker of her team to move from fourth place after the first run into the silver medal position. It was the first medal for a Norwegian female in alpine skiing since 1936 and only the second in the nation's history. Her teammates Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud finished with gold and silver medals in the men's downhill earlier in the day to add to Norwegian celebrations.
Federica Brignone maintained her third-place position from run one to claim her first-ever Olympic medal with bronze. The Italian has 17 career World Cup giant slalom podiums to her name and was considered a definitive medal contender heading into PyeongChang.

Aksel Lund Svindal Wins Men's Downhill Gold in Pyeongchang

Aksel Lund Svindal made history for Norway on Thursday at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre as the 35-year-old Attacking Viking skied full risk to claim the first men’s downhill gold medal for his nation.
He was joined on the podium by his teammate Kjetil Jansrud who also skied aggressively and finished with the silver medal just 0.12 seconds off the lead. Reigning downhill World Champion Beat Feuz of Switzerland completed the podium in third at +0.18 seconds for his first Olympic medal in bronze.
With his victory, Svindal became the first man to win the downhill three times at the World Championships (2007, 2013) and Olympic Winter Games (2018) combined. He also joined Kjetil Andre Aamodt as the only Norwegian alpine skiers with multiple Olympic gold medals. Downhill was the only men’s alpine skiing event at the Olympic Winter Games that Norway lacked a medal in prior to Thursday.
"It feels pretty good. I'm extremely happy (...) World Cup wins, I've been there a few times and know how that feels, but this is different. It's one of those things where you keep looking up the hill because I want to make sure it's real, like no one comes and skis faster. But this is fine".
Kjetil Jansrud added to his Olympic medal collection that includes super-G gold and downhill bronze from 2014 and giant slalom silver from 2010. 
Beat Feuz’s prior best Olympic result had been 13th in the 2014 Sochi downhill.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Marcel Hirscher Wins First Olympic Gold in Men's Combined

Six times Overall winner Marcel Hirscher won pretty much everything that you can win in alpine skiing, and today he grabbed that one missing trophy: an Olympic Gold Medal. Today, his dream came true and the Austrian can finally call himself an Olympic Champion. The strong French team earned the two other spots on the podium, placing Alexis Pinturault and Victor Muffat-Jeandet as a silver and bronze medallist.
Marcel Hirscher (AUT) became the fifth man to win an Olympic and world title in a men's combination event on Tuesday 13 February at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. After a very strong downhill run, where he was only +1.32 behind the Kitzbuehel winner Thomas Dressen, Hirscher laid down one of his impressive slalom runs to take the win.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Freeride World Tour 2018: Performance Check of the Hakuba Event staged in Kicking Horse Golden BC

Join Ivan Mad Malakhov and head judge Lolo Besse for the Performance Check to understand the skiing and judging behind his winning ski line at the Freeride World Tour 2018 Hakuba Japan staged in Kicking Horse Golden BC.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Freeride World Tour 2018: Performance Check of the Kicking Horse Golden BC Event

Join Logan Pehota and head judge Lolo Besse for the Performance Check to understand the skiing and judging behind his winning ski line at the Freeride World Tour 2018 Kicking Horse Golden BC.