Swiss shine in St. Moritz alpine combined
It was back to medal action at the 2017 Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz (SUI) when the ladies’ were on stage for today’s alpine combined. The Swiss ladies’ team continued to shine as Wendy Holdener and Michelle Gisin took home the gold and silver medals. Austria’s Michaela Kirchgasser earned the bronze medal.
It was the third medal for the Swiss women in just the first two events of these World Championships. For both Holdener and Gisin, it was their first career World Championship medals. Kirchgasser now has one silver and two bronze World Championship medals in her collection.
"It's a dream," said Holdener. "I didn't think my slalom run would be enough to hold on for the gold when I came down. But after Michelle skied down, I knew I had a medal and then I watched as the last few had to start. It's still unbelievable for me."
Holdener was centimeters away from missing out on gold, as her teammate Gisin looked to be on pace to take over the lead, but Gisin came across the line a mere 0.05 seconds behind. Both athletes huddled in the leader box through the final few racers and celebrated as the first-run leaders straddled gates, leaving the top positions to the Swiss.
Sofia Goggia (ITA) led after the downhill portion, which was lowered to the super-G start due to forecasted fog, with Ilka Stuhec (SLO) sitting in second place. But both missed gates early in their slalom runs, paving the way for the double Swiss success. Holdener sat in seventh place, nearly a second off the fastest downhill run, while Gisin finished the downhill in fourth place 0.57 behind.
But both the Swiss had amazing slalom runs, with Holdener having the second-fastest slalom run, trailing only Kirchgasser who had the fastest slalom run, ultimately propelling her to the bronze medal. The Swiss were close to the podium sweep as Denise Feierabend finished in fourth place at 0.83 seconds behind.
Despite the huge medal success, the Swiss suffered a major blow today when Lara Gut was injured during warm-up between the two runs. Gut, who already earned a bronze medal in the super-G here in St. Moritz, was flown to Chur for further evaluation, but initial reports suggest an injury to the left knee.
An action-packed weekend awaits St. Moritz with the men’s downhill tomorrow and the ladies’ downhill on Sunday. The weather is expected to cooperate and gradually improve throughout the weekend and next week as the World Championship continues.
Note: The men staged their second downhill training this morning. After yesterday’s training did not manage to get the entire field a run, the jury made the decision to stage another training today. More than half of the top-30 racers opted not to take part in the training, with 21 racers in total not starting. Of those who took part, Alexis Pinturault (FRA) made it down with the fastest time, he was followed by Peter Fill (ITA) and Switzerland’s Niels Hintermann. Today’s training was also shortened on both ends. Due to weather, the freefall start was not included and due to the overlap with the women’s alpine combined race the lower portion was also cut short.