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.

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