Anna Fenninger didn't win so much as she survived the slopes of the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center in Sochi, Russia, to earn gold in women's super-G at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Her time of one minute, 25.52 seconds was enough to edge out Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany.
Here are the medal winners from Saturday. You can see a full list of the results on Sochi2014.com.
|Women's Super-G Results|
That gold medal is the second for Austria so far in Sochi. With fellow Austrian Nicole Hosp taking bronze, the country now has five total medals, which is ninth in the standings as of the race's conclusion.
It should come as no surprise that an Austrian reigned supreme on the slope. As NBC's Joe Battaglia noted, the country had produced four of the eight gold-medal winners in super-G:
Fenninger is the third straight Austrian woman to win gold in super-G, per Infostrada Sports:
The 24-year-old talked to NBC Sports about the Austrian dominance of the event: "I don't know why we can win so much medals. I think we just like it. For me, the adrenaline is very high in super-G. That's what I like, when I go fast."
In the early part of the race, it seemed the three medal winners would be those who were simply able to finish. It wasn't until the 17th racer that there were more who finished than those who didn't, per Alan Abrahamson of 3 Wire Sports:
One turn in particular was giving the skiers a lot of trouble since it came immediately after the solitary jump. The margin for error was razor-thin, so if you took it wrong in the slightest, you were done. Countless racers skied right over the turn, while others had too much speed in order to make it and wound up wide of the flags.
A total of 18 out of a possible 49 skiers didn't finish the course. It's the most in the event's history, topping the 15 from the 2010 Olympics, per Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson:
As the race went on, you could tell that the skiers were adapting and slowing down much more before reaching that jump. The trick was finding the right balance of risk and caution, as you didn't want to go so slowly so as to erase any hopes of earning a medal.
Fenninger struck that balance. She attacked the course but made sure not to get too out of control in the spots where she needed to be careful.
Although Fenninger didn't set an Olympic record, the fact that the Austrian won gold is perhaps a better indication of her talent. It took somebody with real skill to tame this slope.
Julia Mancuso was the highest-finishing American skier. Her time of 1:27.04 was only good enough for eighth, though.
It was a bit of a disappointment for Mancuso, after she had won bronze in the women's super combined earlier in the week and had a gold medal from 2006 in the giant slalom to her name.
Leanne Smith was the only other American to finish. For a little bit early on, she was in gold-medal position, if only because nobody else had completed the course. In the end, Smith settled for 18th with a time of 1:28.38.
Both Stacey Cook and Laurenne Ross picked up DNFs.
Between the crashes, missed turns and apprehensive skiers, the super-G competition was a bit underwhelming, but take nothing away from Fenninger. She outlasted the competition to come out on top.
Given her age and success on what had to be considered one of the tougher Olympic courses in recent memory, this could be the start of a run of dominance for Fenninger in a discipline her home nation has owned for over a decade now.
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