The 2017 Alpine World Ski Championships kicked off today with the ladies’ super-G under dream conditions in St. Moritz (SUI). And it was Austrian Nicole Schmidhofer who earned the first gold medal of these World Championships beating Tina Weirather (LIE) and crowd favorite Lara Gut (SUI).
After two days of snow hammered the Engadine region, forcing the cancellation of both men’s and ladies’ downhill trainings, today the athletes woke up to blue bird skies and ideal conditions on the Salastrains course.
Weirather had the early lead, and held onto a slim advantage after the clear favorite Gut came down, finishing 0.03 seconds. But Weirather, who already has three, second place World Cup finishes this season, could not break the bridesmaid curse today as she watched her dream of gold evaporate when Schmidhofer shocked the field with the fastest time of 1:21:54, 0.33 seconds better than Weirather.
Before today Schmidhofer had only two World Cup podiums to her credit, the last coming in 2014 in the Cortina downhill. But today it was the 27 year-old's chance to steal the spotlight as her time was not challenged by any of the later skiers. Two top names, Anna Veith (AUT) and Lindsey Vonn (USA) both missed gates and did not finish.
"The course set suited me really well today," said Schmidhofer after the race. "II should thank the Italian coaches who set the course because it was ideal for me together with the snow conditions It's just a perfect day."
It was the first World Championship medal for forth Schmidhofer and Weirather, while Gut celebrated her fifth time on a World Championship podium. Gut now has three silver medals and two bronze medals to her credit.
Tomorrow, the men will make their St. Moritz 2017 debut with the super-G. The forecast is not as ideal with cloudy skies expected, but Organisers are hopeful that the race will still be staged as planned.
For complete results from the today’s ladies’ super-G click here
For all information on St. Moritz 2017, click here
Note: The men held their first downhill training today before the ladies’ super-G race to take advantage of the optimal conditions. All 86 racers made it down the full course and host Switzerland got off to a roaring start as Beat Feuz posted the fastest time of 1:42:14 ahead of Brice Roger (FRA) and Patrick Kueng (SUI). St. Moritz has been good to Feuz after he won both the speed races at last year’s Season Finals. For complete training results, click here