Santeri Paloniemi wins gold and claims Finland's first medal at Roccaraso
On the last day of the Junior World Ski Championships 2012, it was Finland that would score the surprise of the day by winning gold in the mens' slalom. 19-year-old Santeri Paloniemi finished fourth after the first run, and won the final with a margin of 1.26 seconds after a great run. In light snowfall, cold wind and wintery surroundings, it turned out to be a perfect day for the Finn, claiming the first medal for Finland in this Junior Championships. Second place went to Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) who took his very first gold medal in a Junior Championships two days ago in the men's giant slalom. The guy who is known for never losing the second run if he's on top, showed that he could keep his second place from the first heat also today. Third place was another pleasant surprise, as Switzerland's Reto Schmidiger, who has been out of competition for the last 3 weeks due to injury, claimed the bronze medal after having finished fourth in the first run.
In the Junior Championships, there are additional medals awarded to the top 3 best combined skiers, based on the ranks in the events slalom, giant slalom and downhill. With his win in giant slalom and silver in today's slalom, Norway's new young gun, Henrik Kristoffersen climbed on the podium again, winning silver. The downhill winner Ryan Cochran-Siegle (USA) took gold, with Zan Kranjec (SLO) taking bronze.
The girls were supposed to finish their last competition - the downhill- today. Having tried to complete the training both on Wednesday and yesterday, but without luck due to thick fog and strong wind, the competition had to be cancelled. To be able to award a winner in combined, the super-G results counted instead, which lead to yet another gold for Norwegians' Ragnhild Mowinckel. Silver was won by Annie Winquist (NOR), and bronze by Corinne Suter (SUI).
Two years ago at the Junior World Ski Championships in Chamonix, Norway took home their very first Marc Hodler trohpy which awards the best nation in the Championships. Last year they saw it go back to the Swiss who claimed impressing 11 medals at their home Championships in Crans Montana. This year however, it was a close battle between the two rivals. With both Switzerland and Norway each winning 8 medals (NOR 4/3/1 vs SUI 1/3/4), it was a close race. Being awarded with points for top 10 athletes in each race, Norway had better margins, as the strong team both on the girls and guys' side took points in each competition. Norway finally won it with a total score of 109 points followed by Switzerland with 76 points and France with 52 points.
Complete Marc Hodler Trophy standings:
RESULTS MENS' SLALOM:
1. Santeri Paloniemi (FIN) 1:38.44
2. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) 1:39.70 +1.26
3. Reto Schmidiger (SUI) 1: 39.93 +1.49
RESULTS MENS' COMBINED:
1. Ryan Cochran-Siegle (USA) 31.49
2. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) 44.21
3. Zan Kranjec (SLO) 60.62
RESULTS LADIES' COMBINED:
1. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) 11.66
2. Annie Winquist (NOR) 31.00
3. Corinne Suter (SUI) 31.03