Shiffrin golden in super-G to kick off World Ski Championships in Åre
© Agence Zoom

American Mikaela Shiffrin opened the 2019 Åre FIS Alpine World Ski Championships by claiming the fourth World Championship title of her career but her first in super-G on Tuesday in a nailbiter race where gold was decided by only 0.02 seconds. Sofia Goggia of Italy, who only just returned to the competition circuit after sustaining an ankle fracture in the autumn, produced a miraculous run to finish as runner-up. And in the first top-level podium appearance of her career, Corinne Suter of Switzerland showed her recent top-six results on the World Cup tour were a stepping stone to the bronze medal.

Strong winds at the top of the mountain forced officials to lower the start position, and this contributed to very tight times in the race. The podium was separated by only 0.05 seconds, and Viktoria Rebensburg in fourth place was just 0.02 seconds away from a medal.

Shiffrin stated that she was surprised to see the green light in the finish area during the super-G and her reaction indicated that she didn’t expect to top the leaderboard in the very first event.

“Even though I made a small mistake towards the end of the course, I felt how well the skis were going and I thought that I still had a chance to finish very fast. Whatever my serviceman put on these skis today, I’ll tell him to do more of that for the next races," Shiffrin told the media.

The 2017 super-G World Champion Nicole Schmidhofer was Austria's top athlete but she had to settle for 11th position. But she will be a serious threat in the downhill scheduled for Sunday, 10 February.

Lindsay Vonn, who announced that the speed races in Åre would be the last of her career, crashed hard in the super-G but was able to ski to the finish area to the cheers of the crowd. She spoke to the media after the winners’ press conference and gave an emotional and very personal account of the past, present, and future of her exceptional career. Asked what she would miss most after her retirement, Lindsay remarked, “I’ll miss that wonderful sensation of speed that you can get only by racing down a hill on a pair of skis. I don’t know yet how I will compensate for that because I won’t be able to do it skiing privately without my ski pass being taken away from me."

The men will contest the super-G on Wednesday starting at 12:30 CET just after the ladies have their second downhill training run.

See complete results from today's race here.

Audio from the various press conferences is available here.