Pyeongchang 2018

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Stars of the slopes: five reasons to follow alpine skiing in PyeongChang

SOELDEN, AUSTRIA - OCTOBER 28: Manuela Moelgg of Italy takes 3rd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Giant Slalom on October 28, 2017 in Soelden, Austria. (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Alpine skiing will boast some of the biggest stars of PyeongChang 2018 – as well as a new discipline and bespoke venue. Here are five reasons to follow one of the most thrilling Olympic Winter events:

Lindsey Vonn

Undoubtedly one of the most recognisable female athletes in the world. She is Tiger Woods’ former girlfriend, has appeared in Sports Illustrated’s swimwear edition and has more than one million Instagram followers. But, first and foremost, Vonn is a superlative skier. She won the downhill and super-G at the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010, but was not able to defend her titles at Sochi 2014 because of an serious knee injury. So the 33-year-old has unfinished business in PyeongChang, and her rivals had better watch out…

Mikaela Shiffrin

The 22-year-old American has seized Vonn’s title of best female skier in the world. After becoming the youngest Olympic slalom champion in history – at 18 years and 345 days – in Sochi, she revealed her ‘crazy dream’ of winning five golds in PyeongChang. She will certainly be odds-on favourite to become the first woman to retain the slalom. Shiffrin, who was described as a ‘transcendent talent’ in a recent New Yorker profile, has been used to setting landmarks her entire life; she entered the World Cup tour at 15, became the youngest skier to win a US national championship at 16, earned a World Cup slalom victory at 17, and seized Olympic gold at 18. Who would bet against her setting more landmarks in PyeongChang?

Marcel Hirscher

The undisputed king of men’s alpine skiing, Hirscher yet has failed to make his mark at an Olympic Games. The Austrian has won the overall World Cup in every year since 2012, as well as golds in both the slalom and giant slalom at the 2013, 2015 and 2017 World Championships. Yet, somehow, he has never translated this dominance into Olympic gold. PyeongChang will be the 28-year-old’s chance to put this right, although a broken ankle sustained in August disrupted his start to the season.

Mixed team event

A new event for the 2018 Games, which promises to be a fans’ favourite. The mixed team event will feature 16 nations, with men and women, and there will be a knockout format all the way to the final. There will be four races in each tie, with skiers going head-to-head. Jenny Wiedeke of skiing’s governing body, the FIS, recently said: “We think the Olympic audience will enjoy this new event. It has the flair of both an individual and team event.”


The alpine venues at the Alpensia Sports Park have been virtually built from scratch, but made a very good impression when the FIS made their final inspection in September. “If we are lucky with the weather and the snow conditions, I am confident that we will experience great Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang,” said Atle Skardal, the race director for the Women’s World Cup.


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