Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sofia Goggia Wins Women's Downhill Gold in Pyeongchang 2018


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".

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