Friday, March 20, 2015

Switzerland Wins Team Event


Today at the Audi FIS World Cup Season Finals in Meribel (FRA), there was no talk of globes and titles as the athletes took a break from securing World Cup discipline points to take part in the Nation’s Team Event.
The winning team of Charlotte Chable, Michelle Gisin, Wendy Holdener, Gino Caviezel, Justin Mursier and Reto Schmidiger topped Germany, Italy and Sweden en route to the first-place finish.
The action-packed parallel event was filled with tight head to head battles among the seven competing nations. As the top-ranked team, Austria had a bye in the first round, but was ousted by the Swedes in the semi-finals. With the Austrians out of the picture, and World Championship runner-up Canada not entering a team, the field was wide open for the rce to the top step of the podium.
Germany, France and Slovenia all made first-round exits, leaving the semi-final match-ups of Austria against Sweden and Switzerland vs. Italy. The Swiss and Swedes earned victories and a berth into the finals, which the Swiss won on the last run in a closely contested race. Austria took third place in the small final against the Italians, keeping their podium streak alive.
A favourite of the athletes who have the rare opportunity to treat skiing as a team sport, the Nation’s Team Event also impressed the spectators with its ‘March Madness’ knock-out format. Austria has won a medal at every edition of the Team event since the event entered the World Championship program in 2005.
The race is a dual paralel slalom with pro jumps—pitting a racer from one country against another. With times coming in between 22 and 24 seconds, athletes squeaked out wins by hundredths of a second. The discipline may even become an Olympic event, with the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach hinting that he had been discussing the team event with FIS.

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