Annie Winquist (NOR) suprises everyone by winning sg with bib #45
The first of two speed events for the junior ladies started in a spectacular and exciting way. In the ladies super g, the race had an incredible change, not only once, but twice. On a cold, but still sunny day in Roccaraso, the course was perfectly groomed, and led to great conditions for all athletes. With a fast piste, the challenging course with one major jump made the first out of two speed events nothing like one would have thought. After 11 racers, Abby Ghent (USA) took a clear lead, but a strong field of Swiss girls were still to start. First up was Corinne Suter who improved the time with 0.44 seconds and was at top of the podium. Right after her, Joana Haehlen followed up, and beat her time with the tiniest margin of 0.2 seconds. With still more than 40 racers to come, but none of the top 30 to be close to her time, people started to think the Swiss girls would stay on top of the podium. That was before the ladies' gold medaillist in giant slalom, Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR), and the first of five Norwegian girls started. Speeding down the course, keeping a clean line, she came in second on the finish line, +0.1 seconds behind Haehlen. The podium was definitely not set. With a solid run by Kristine Gjelsten Haugen, also NOR, skiing into 13th place, the young girls showed it was still possible to ski fast on the course. Coming up as number 45, Annie Winquist lead on the intermediate time, and the crowd gasped for air. By a solid ski performance, no mistakes and keeping a high speed, Winquist crossed the finish line at the time 1:06.99, 0.1 seconds ahead of Haehlen. The podium was changed from Swiss dominance to Norwegian celebration.
It was easy to see that the course was technically challenging and fast for the athletes. With temperatures below 0 degrees, it was a light surface of ice on the course, which lead to fast skiing. The top 5 athletes had all finished with a total of gap of +0.6 houndreds of a second. Noone could ever dream of such a thrilling finish
Annie Winquist is one of the many promising Norwegian athletes. In January she competed in the National Junior Championships, and won nothing less than gold in downhill, super combined and super g. Having dreamt of winning in Roccaraso, she still couldn't believe it actually had happened.
With a gold and bronze medal for Norway today, they overtook Switzerland in the Marc Hodler trophy ranking, who honours the best nation in the Junior World Championships. Norway is currently leading with 58 points, followed by Switzerland with 56 and France with 34. Three competitions remain, as the men will compete in giant slalom tomorrow and slalom on Friday, while the ladies will comepte in downhill on Friday.
1. Annie Winquist (NOR) 1:06.99
2. Joana Haehlen (SUI) 1:07.02 +0.3
3. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) 1:07.03 +0.4
Annie Winquist (NOR), gold:
“I have goose bumps all over my body right now, I had not expected this at all! It's a really big surprise for me, but the conditions were simply perfect, the hard surface fit me well, and even though I thought it was a bit flat at some parts, I had to work hard all the way. Ragnhild gave me a few tips after her run, and everything simply came together when it was my turn".
Joana Haehlen (SUI), silver:
“I'm very happy with silver medal in super g, and I'm very happy for both Ragnhild and Annie, as we're close friends. I've been looking forward to the speed events in this Junior Championships for a long time, but I didn't expect to be on the podium in super g, as downhill is my best discipline".
Ragnhild Mowinkcel (NOR), bronze:
“I'm super stoked right now. The conditions were great, and I loved the course. I would never had dreamt about such a triumph in the Junior World Championships, but we are a really strong team right now. Winning bronze in super g is simply great, now we need to go all in in downhill as well".