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Gut-Behrami continues march to immortality by grabbing super-G Globe

Mar 22, 2024·Alpine Skiing
Gut-Behrami is already the super-G, GS and overall Globe winner
Gut-Behrami is already the super-G, GS and overall Globe winner

Three down, just one to go for Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI) after she added the Audi FIS World Cup super-G Crystal Globe to her growing collection with a brilliant, fearless display at the Finals in Saalbach, Austria.

Five days after she claimed a longed-for first giant slalom Globe and secured a second ever overall title, the Swiss flier started the final super-G knowing her 69-point advantage at the top of the standings meant she was in prime position. 

But with second-placed Conny Huetter (AUT) and Federica Brignone (ITA) – 74 points back in third – hovering and facing a soft, heavily salted Ullie Maier course, Gut-Behrami still needed to go out and perform.

The 32-year-old did just that.

Pushing hard out the gate, she was lightening on the fast, direct top section and beautifully controlled through the technical mid and lower parts to finish in a time of one minute 16.46 seconds.

Out after Gut-Behrami, Brignone and Huetter threw everything at it in an attempt to somehow catch the undoubted skier of the season, but it was not to be.

Second place on the day for Brignone – 0.28 seconds behind winner Ester Ledecka (CZE) – propelled her into second place in the super-G Globe race. While Huetter, who lost control in sight of the finish as she attempted to squeeze every last millisecond out of the course, ended fifth on the day to drop to third overall.

“Of course I am super happy with the result, winning the Globe was what I wanted,” Gut-Behrami said. “In the end I also think this is one of the best races I have done in these conditions. It’s pretty soft and pretty straight – not my favourite thing. I made a few mistakes on top but altogether it was a pretty solid run.”

Gut-Behrami joins Lindsey Vonn (USA) and Katja Seizinger (GER) as a five-time super-G World Cup champion and emulates one of her childhood idols, Vreni Schneider (SUI) who was the last Swiss woman to win three Globes in a season, a feat she achieved back in 1994/95.

A winner eight times this season already across three different disciplines, Gut-Behrami has one more record in her sights. She will start Saturday’s downhill 68 points ahead of Stephanie Venier in the standings, knowing one more solid ski will make her just the fourth woman ever to win four Crystal Globes in a single season.

“I am happy that tomorrow is going to be a pretty challenging race similar as the race we had today. I am just going to take everything I had today. The way I skied, the way I did the mistakes, what I have to improve, what I have to avoid and I am just going to try tomorrow to show another nice run” said Gut-Behrami who will emulate Vonn, Mikael Shiffrin (USA) and Tina Maze (SLO) if she can secure a fourth Globe.

It’s not done yet. Today I went to the start and I had my mind I want to try to win this race. I want to try to ski super fast. This is the safe way to get things done.Lara Gut-Behrami

Happy bridesmaid Brignone

Second in the fight for the Big Globe, second in the GS standings and now second in super-G, Brignone could only applaud her rival.

“Lara was so much better than me, she had an amazing season. What she did was really crazy and it was just so nice to fight with her,” the Italian said, after a season in which she has won six times and had a further seven podium finishes.

Federica Brignone super-G World Cup Finals Saalbach
Federica Brignone has had her best World Cup season ever

“This season I just said I will try to enjoy. For sure I worked really hard, my 100% but I said whatever comes is just a gift but actually it was my best of the career,” the 33-year-old added. 

“I am really proud of myself about my skiing and the way I am still on it.”

Ledecka shows her enduring class

Ledecka is another skier ending the season with a broad smile on her face. The double discipline star missed all of the 2022/23 Alpine skiing and Alpine snowboard action with injury and struggled in the early part of this season with illness, but she has found her groove in style in recent weeks.

Eighth, fourth and third in her three super-G races coming into Saalbach, Ledecka produced exactly the kind of fearless, full gas run that delivered her an Olympic super-G gold medal back in 2018.

“It was an amazing run and I am very happy for my team. They really deserve it. They worked really hard the whole season,” she said after securing a first World Cup win in more than two years. “It’s really cool. I really enjoyed the run. It was a great day.”

Not content with also just dazzling on her snowboard, Ledecka will soon turn her attention to summer sport and the warm, spring-like conditions in Austria gave her a head-start.

 “I think summer preparation for the water-skiing really paid off, it was really perfect, the only thing missing with a buoy at the finish,” Ledecka joked, before adding seriously, “They did an amazing job with the slope. It was great to ski.”

Third-placed Kasja Vickhoff Lie (NOR) was in firm agreement.

“Conditions-wise it’s actually quite nice. I am a Norwegian, I love salt so it’s fun,” she said after continuing a great run of recent form for the Norwegian women’s team.

On Saturday, the squad will face the prospect of racing alongside teammate Ragnhild Mowinckel for the final time. Something Lie is not looking forward to.

“I don’t want to think about it before tomorrow,” she said with a grimace.

Do not miss double Olympic silver medallist Mowinckel’s final race and the final race of the women’s season, off at 11:00 CET. While full results from today are available here.