The start of the second competition weekend at the 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Åre (SWE) provided weather that was the total opposite of the start of the first week which saw sunny skies and degrees well below freezing. But even rain, wind, and temperatures considerably above freezing did not stall the ladies' giant slalom. Mikaela Shiffrin was a pre-race favorite but only managed the fourth fastest time in the first run, trailing Viktoria Rebensburg, Petra Vlhova, and Ragnhild Mowinkel.
Winds increased as the day went on which impacted both the racers and slope crew who fought to maintain the good conditions and secure material along the course. The start position was moved down to the reserve start for both runs due to the wind.
"It was a strange day. The winds kept changing but this is an outdoor sport and I decided to do my best in the second run to see where I end up," said Mikaela Shiffrin after the first run.
The racers who managed to hold their line performed the best in the second run. Shiffrin took the lead by 0.49 seconds after crossing the finish line. Mowinckel fell behind her to ultimately finish fourth as Shiffrin secured the bronze medal.
"There was more fighting (in my second run) and it was more aggressive and more deserving of the podium. So I’m really happy with that and coming away tonight with a bronze medal after the gold in super-G is very much a dream come true," reflected Shiffrin.
Vlhova, who was second after the first run, beat Shiffrin by 0.38 seconds and proved to be faster than even Rebensburg. That meant she claimed the first ever World Championships gold medal for Slovakia.
"I am so proud that I am from Slovakia because we are not a big country and now I am a world champion so it’s amazing. The whole team did a great job, and finally I showed everyone who Petra from Slovakia is," said Vlhova.
Rebensburg, silver medalist at Vail 2015, kept her lead for most of the second run but then lost time at the very end, finishing 0.14 seconds behind Vlhova, claiming silver in the end.
"It’s a cool story since I raced in my first World Championships here in 2007, I also had a really good run so for now it’s cool that I could win a medal here. For me it’s a really special place, I have so many nice memories from here, and it's a special thing for me," said Rebensburg.
See full results from today's race here.
Courtesy of Åre 2019