Slovenian star Tina Maze was able to steal the show early on Tuesday by winning the gold medal in the women’s giant slalom event in Alpine Skiing at the 2014 Winter Olympics with a combined time of two minutes and 36.87 seconds.
Maze dominated the first run with the top time in the event (1:17.88). While her second run wasn’t as successful (1:18.99), it was enough to secure the victory over second-place finisher Anna Fenninger of Austria by just 0.07 seconds.
|Rank||Country||Name||Run 1 Time||Run 2 Time||Total Time||Difference|
|1||SLO||Tina Maze||1:17:88||1:18.99 (+1.09)||2:36:87||--|
|2||AUT||Anna Fenninger||1:18.73 (+0.85)||1:18.21 (+0.31)||2:36.94||+0.07|
|3||GER||Viktoria Rebensburg||1:19.24 (+1.36)||1:17.90||2:37.14||+0.27|
|4||ITA||Nadia Fanchini||1:18.53 (+0.65||1:18.72 (+0.82)||2:37.25||+0.38|
|5||USA||Mikaela Shiffrin||1:18.79 (+0.91)||1:18.58 (+0.68)||2:37.37||+0.50|
|6||SWE||Maria Pietilae-Holmner||1:19.45 (+1.57)||1:18.37 (+0.47)||2:37.82||+0.95|
|7||SWE||Jessica Lindell-Vikarby||1:18.40 (+0.52)||1:19.62 (+1.72)||2:38.02||+1.15|
|8||FRA||Anemone Marmottan||1:19.69 (+1.81)||1:18.79 (+0.89)||2:38.48||+1.61|
|9||SUI||Lara Gut||1:20.54 (+2.66)||1:18.10 (+0.20)||2:38.64||+1.77|
|10||SUI||Dominique Gisin||1:19.99 (+2.11)||1:19.59 (+1.69)||2:39.58||+2.71|
Source: NBCOlympics.com and Sochi2014.com
Joe Fleming of the USA Today shared a great image of Maze after winner her second gold medal of the Olympics (also won in women's downhill):
Fenninger brought home the silver with a combined time of 2:36.94 and German skier Viktoria Rebensburg was able to win the bronze medal with a time of 2:37.14.
The best hope for Team USA was Mikaela Shiffrin. After sitting in fifth after the first run, the emerging American star had one of her better times in the second run with 1:18.58. She was unable to move up the standings, though, finishing fifth overall with a combined time of 2:37.37.
Shiffrin was just 0.5 seconds behind the gold medal time.
The first run of the event featured Maze proving her dominance early, as she finished 0.52 seconds ahead of Jessica Lindell-Vikarby from Sweden. The remainder of the first runs featured the typical contenders fighting for top spot, but Shiffrin could only manage the fifth-fastest run.
Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post assessed Shiffrin’s performance with the star:
Mikaela Shiffrin fifth in the giant slalom. Her assessment: For first Olympic race, not bad.— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) February 18, 2014
Prior to the race, Shiffrin discussed the pressures of competing in the Olympics and over thinking her performance with John Meyer of The Denver Post:
I don't think it's possible to be too prepared, but it's possible to think too much. That's the trick on race day, to turn all those extra thoughts off and just know that I've been preparing for this for my entire life, really. Whether I knew it or not at the time, every event that's happened to me has been preparation for this, and this is preparation for whatever happens in my future. I've always been really aware of that. I'm also a thinker, so some races I think a little too much and I start to doubt myself. I don't feel any doubt right now. I just feel really excited.
There is still plenty of action left in the Alpine skiing events at the 2014 Winter Olympics now that the women’s giant slalom is over. The men’s competition in the giant slalom kicks off on Wednesday and the excitement after such a strong performance from the women will have casual fans excited about the remainder of the events in the sport.
Not only do the women still have the normal slalom events (Run 1 and 2 on Friday), but the men also have the normal slalom’s two runs on Saturday.
Perennial contenders Switzerland, Austria and Germany will be the top challengers in the remainder of the events. Team USA stars Shiffrin on the women’s side and Bode Miller and Andrew Weibrecht on the men’s side will look to bring home more hardware for the Americans, though.
While Miller likely won't bring home a medal in the remaining events—his best events have passed—Shiffrin and Weibrecht have great chances at adding to America's medal count. Still, Alpine skiing viewers should expect Maze to contend for a gold medal in the normal slalom after yet another stellar performance on Tuesday.
Updated Medal Standings