PyeongChang 2018 OWG preview: parallel giant slalom

19 February 2018 16:04
Ester Ledecka has been dominating the World Cup season so far - can she keep the momentum at the Olympics?
Ester Ledecka has been dominating the World Cup season so far - can she keep the momentum at the Olympics? -
Miha Matavz

And with parallel slalom not making a follow up to its successful inaugural event in Sochi four years ago, PGS is the sole chance to medal for the alpine snowboarders of the world.

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games PGS results

Ladies:

Gold – Vic Wild (USA)

Silver – Nevin Galmarini (SUI)

Bronze – Zan Kosir (SLO)

Men:

Gold – Patrizia Kummer (SUI)

Silver – Tomoka Taekuchi (JPN)

Bronze – Alena Zavarzina (RUS)

Well, for all except of one.

Ester Ledecka, the 2015 PSL and 2017 PGS World Champion already snatched some of the coveted hardware shocking the alpine ski world by walking away with the surprising Gold in super-G.

With an Olympic medal already on lock, the sole Olympian to compete in two different discipline, has nothing to lose in the PGS although she was the odds-on favourite for the title prior to the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang 2018.

Ledecka won five of six PGS World Cups she started in with a fifth place finish in Bansko, Bulgaria being her worst result.

In fact, she is no stranger to the podium as she statistically makes it to the top-3 in every second World Cup with an incredible streak of 20 podiums earned in 40 starts.

But the undisputed 2017-18 season's World Cup leader won't have an easy job bringing home a medal after missing out the podium in Sochi as respective sixth and seventh.

Russia's Bronze medallist from 2014, Alena Zavarzina, is always a podium threat; especially as the highly decorated rider came out successful from last year's official test event staged on the Olympic slope in the Bokwang Phoenix Park.

In addition, the German team has had a strong showing over the whole World Cup season so far with Ramona Hofmeister having placed in the top-3 in the recent three PGS World Cups.

Her teammate Selina Joerg also was in an incredible shape prior to this winter's main event with a second and third rank finish in the Bansko double World Cup therefore looking confident enough to get some redemption for her so far disappointing results at major events (4th at worlds in 2015, 4th at 2010 Olympics).

And let's not forget the Austrian armada led by Julia Dujmovits. The 2014 Olympic PSL Champion has collected a full set of medals this PGS season already while her fellow countrywoman Claudia Riegler jumped on the podium once, too.

Over in the men's event, there is one rider who is standing out from a deep and strong field. In fact, Nevin Galmarini is having the season of his life right when it counts the most.

The 2014 Olympic Silver medallist was going through some downs the previous years just to come back even stronger this winter.

The World Cup leader from Switzerland came in as runner-up twice this PGS season while also winning two times, including the rehearsal event in Bulgaria.

And as he also did quite well in South Korea last year placing fifth in the test event World Cup, Galmarini is worth a bet.

However, the same is for Andreas Prommegger although the two-time World Champion from 2017 isn't riding as consistent as his Swiss rival.

But as the Austrian has had his podium finishes this year, too, and triumphed in the test event last winter, he is definitely on the to-watch-out-for list just like his fellow countrymen Alex Payer and Benjamin Karl.

While Payer earned his first Olympic start thanks to an incredible strong season, Karl, who also had a great comeback from injury in January, can – despite having had top results this winter as well – rely on his standing in the scene.

Since 2009 (!) the father of one has been claiming at least one medal at every World Championships and Olympic Winter Games. And Karl is most certainly up for one more, especially as the four-time World Champion is still missing an Olympic title.

Other riders to keep an eye on are Radoslav Yankov (BUL), Edwin Coratti (ITA) and Andrey Sobolev (RUS) while one Canadian also returned into the spot light lately.

Winning the first of two World Cup races in Bansko, Jasey Jay Anderson earned his 63rd podium of which 28 were wins in his 258th World Cup start.

Above that, the 2010 Olympic PGS Champion will earn another place in the history books as he will become the only snowboarder to have competed in all Olympics since snowboarding was added to the programme in 1998 whilst also being the first Canadian athlete ever to compete in six Winter Olympics.

The women's and men's qualifiers are scheduled for 22 February while the finals will go down two days later on 24 February.

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