Believe it or not, the female 2017 World Champion in super-G had yet to win a World Cup race in the discipline until Saturday's event at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER). Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria, who secured the first downhill victory of her career at the start of the season in Lake Louise (CAN), returned to form in her other event to claim the super-G win at Garmisch. It was her third victory of the season and fifth podium of the winter.
The race was delayed 1.5 hours due to heavy snowfall in the morning. But once the skies cleared after 11:00, athletes were able to push out of the start for an 11:30 CET race time. The track was in great condition despite the snowfall, and skiers applauded the efforts of the organisers to pull off a memorable event.
In her first race back since suffering a broken ankle prior to the start of the competition season, Italy's Sofia Goggia charged into second place, just 0.23 seconds from the lead. She remarked that she was unsure of even racing in Garmisch where she had come to test her ankle and her skiing in the downhill training runs. But after performing well at Thursday and Friday's training, she made the decision to race in the super-G. That decision certainly paid off as she skied to her first podium finish of 2019.
Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland reminded fans that she remains a serious threat in super-G after landing on her second podium of the season. Although she struggled in Val Gardena/Gröden and also Cortina, she has made positive strides to return within striking distance of a win just before the Äre 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
The most impressive heroes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, however, are the Swedish athletes who made headlines earlier in the week for providing critical support during a life-threatening medical emergency at the resort. As they rode the gondola to the start for Thursday’s downhill training run, Lisa Hoernblad, Helena Rappaport, and Lin Ivarsson witnessed a 60-year-old race volunteer in distress. The women wasted no time in providing life-saving assistance to the man as Hoernblad performed chest compressions with support from Rappaport while Ivarsson phoned for help. "It was crazy, we fought to keep him alive, the minutes felt very long,” Hoernblad told Swedish broadcaster SVT. An Austrian team doctor was able to take over at the top station of the gondola, and the volunteer was then transported by helicopter to hospital. The hospital later confirmed to reporters that the man had survived the ordeal which was encouraging news for all.
The ladies race again on Sunday at Garmisch-Partenkirchen where a downhill is scheduled for 11:30 CET.
See full results from today's race here.