First Winter Youth Olympic gold medals go to Estelle Alphand and Adam Lamhamedi

15 January 2012 08:06

INNSBRUCK, Jan 14 – The first Gold medal of the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games went to 16-year-old Estelle ALPHAND (FRA) as the Alpine Skiing favorite took the Women's Super G with a time of 1 minute, 5.78 seconds.

The Silver medal went to Nora Grieg CHRISTENSEN (NOR), who was only one hundredth of a second behind, and the Bronze went to Christina AGER (AUT), who claimed the host nation's first medal of the Games in a time of 1:06.06. 

"It’s amazing to be the winner of the first Gold medal," ALPHAND said. "But it’s just the beginning."

ALPHAND is going for Gold in all four Skiing events hosted at the Patscherkofel venue. 

If she can achieve her lofty goal, it could gain ALPHAND some attention from her idol, Lindsey VONN (USA), who may visit the Games later this week.

"I’ve never met her, maybe in Val d’Isere but I’ve just seen her," ALPHAND said, adding that she would welcome the idea of spending time with the American, who is an Olympic Gold medalist and World Cup Skiing phenomenon.

ALPHAND has another noteworthy role model, her father Luc ALPHAND, an Olympian and former World Cup Skiing star who once won the famed Hahnenkamm race in Kitzbuhel twice in one day, in 1995.

It is perhaps from him that ALPHAND gets her love of speed.

When not at school in Albertville, the Serre Chevalier Vallée native rides motorcycles, rides horses, and does almost anything that can give her the thrill of going fast. 

"She is one of those people who loves speed," French ski coordinator Jean Pierre MOLLIE said. "She is always participating in sports of different kinds when she's not skiing or training."

ALPHAND will continue her quest for medals in the Super Combined when action gets under way on Sunday at 10:15. 

After the ladies, it was time for the men to show some speed…

Morocco has only one athlete participating at the Innsbruck 2012 Olympic Winter Games and he is now a Gold medalist after winning the Alpine Skiing Men's Super G on Saturday.

Adam LAMHAMEDI (MAR) grabbed the Gold with a time of 1 minute 04.45 seconds, and afterwards insisted his win proves anything is possible.

"This represents that in life you can do everything, never give up," he said. "We came from Africa and we won in Alpine Skiing, so all is possible."

LAMHAMEDI lives in Quebec and was originally Canada’s top-ranked Alpine Skiing qualifier for the Games.

He trains with the Canadian team and wears the same outfit, but LAMHAMEDI has always dreamed of representing Morocco.

"It's a personal choice," he said. "I wanted to prove Moroccans can ski well, and I proved it today."

LAMHAMEDI's father was born in Morocco and relatives and friends of the 16 year old travelled from there, France, and Canada to join his parents in the snowy grandstand at the base of this challenging Super G course at Patscherkofel.

"The Moroccan Ski Federation, as well as the Olympic Committee, they have put a lot of work, faith, and trust into Adam," LAMHAMEDI's coach, Martin COTE (MAR), said. "We are all just honoured to represent Morocco here today and for the whole Olympics."

LAMHAMEDI, with several top-20 finishes in Canadian FIS races, will now be considered a major contender for more medals at the Games. He is set to compete in all four Alpine Skiing events, continuing with the Men’s Super Combined on Sunday.

Credit News: YIS tb/rm/lm

Credit Photo: YOG