Hansdotter takes first Olympic slalom medal in gold
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 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.
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 has 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. She secured her first gold medal of these Games the previous day in giant slalom. But she was sick to her stomach at the start before the first run. "I don't know, it was kind of sudden. It almost felt like a virus kind of puking, less about nerves," Shiffrin said.
The ladies will race super-G at Jeongseon Alpine Centre on Saturday 17 February starting at 11:00 KST.