Italy’s Goggia wins downhill gold
In her debut Winter Games, Italy’s Sofia Goggia claimed her first Olympic gold medal, dominating the ladies’ downhill with a time of 1 minute 39.22 seconds.
The 25-year-old has come into her own over the past season, winning two World Cup downhill events last month and entering the Olympics with the top place in World Cup downhill standings.
The Italian was happy to downplay her chances heading into this race, telling reporters that 2010 gold medallist Lindsey Vonn was “definitely the favourite.”
After this performance, she’ll have a hard time playing the underdog from now on.
Second silver for Norway’s Mowinckel
Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel already claimed one Alpine silver medal earlier in the Games when she placed second in the ladies’ giant slalom.
She surprised most observers by claiming another one on Wednesday, as her aggressive, speedy run down the mountain managed to bounce Vonn into third place and nearly displaced Goggia, coming in just .09 seconds behind the gold medallist.
The 25-year-old was ecstatic as she saw her time posted after crossing the finish line, knowing that there were few remaining racers behind her with the potential of bumping her from the podium.
Heading into PyeongChang, Mowinckel had never managed higher than sixth place at a World Cup downhill.
Lindsey Vonn claims bronze
After missing the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi due to injury, 33-year-old Lindsey Vonn was hoping to close her Olympic career by reclaiming the downhill gold she won in Vancouver.
It wasn’t to be, but Vonn’s effort proved worthy of a bronze medal with a time of 1 minute 39.67 seconds time, 0.47 seconds behind Goggia.
She never found herself ahead of Goggia’s pace, but managed to ski faster splits on the second half of the hill than Lichtenstein’s Tina Weirather, who got off to the fastest start of all competitors.
“I skied a great race today, Sophia just skied better than I did,” Vonn told NBC after the race. “I have no regrets. I’m especially happy and proud of my teammates.”
It was the first time in history that three Americans placed in the top ten of an Olympic downhill race, with Alice McKennis finishing fifth and Breezy Johnson coming in seventh.
Rough ride for numerous competitors
The Jeongseon Alpine Centre course proved a real test for some.
Several skiers either wiped out or found themselves spinning off course and failing to finish.
The middle part of the course was especially rough, as 2014 bronze medalist Lara Gut of Switzerland missed a gate while Austria’s Stephanie Venier crashed.