First for Frida
Frida Hansdotter sprung a surprise to take gold in the ladies’ slalom with hot favourite Mikaela Shiffrin only fourth.
The 32-year-old Swede, who said prior to the race she would be “super-happy to come home with something around my neck”, moved up from second on the first run to take victory from halfway leader Wendy Holdener of Switzerland by 0.05 seconds.
Three-time world championship medallist Hansdotter had failed to win a medal at her two previous Games and was sixth in Thursday’s giant slalom.
Austria’s Katharina Gallhuber went seven-tenths of a second quicker than anyone else on a sensational second run to take bronze ahead of defending champion Shiffrin.
The 22-year-old had high hopes of retaining her title after taking giant slalom gold 24 hours earlier, but she was only fourth after the first run and could not get into the medals.
Shiffrin had vomited before the first run but not due to her well-documented pre-race nerves, saying in an NBC interview: “It was kind of sudden. It almost felt like a virus kind of puking.”
Holdener took a lead of two-tenths of a second into the decisive run but could not claim Switzerland’s first slalom gold since Vreni Schneider in 1994.
But the 24-year-old did claim her first Olympic medal and will bid for another in Saturday’s Super-G where Lindsey Vonn of the United States and Italy’s Sofia Goggia are among the favourites.
Shiffrin will not take part due to schedule changes caused by weather disruption earlier in the week, choosing to save her energy for downhill training ahead of the competition next Wednesday.
The last Swedish winner of the Olympic slalom before Hansdotter’s success was Anja Paerson at Turin 2006.
Hansdotter is a long-standing veteran of the World Cup circuit, claiming the slalom discipline title in 2016 and also claiming slalom bronze at last year’s World Championships.
But PyeongChang 2018 will be remembered as her finest moment.