On Thursday evening (Friday afternoon in PyeongChang), the top female and male alpine skiers competed in the women’s Slalom and the men’s Super-G. After days of harsh winds and icy conditions, competitors finally had sunnier and softer conditions on the race course.
The women’s Slalom results came as a surprise to many Team USA supporters—Mikaela Shiffrin, from Vail, Colo., was the defender of the Winter Olympic Gold in the women’s Slalom event. Yet, on Friday afternoon, Shiffrin, with only a few noticeable mistakes (such as a wide turn in the second run), missed the podium by +0.40, placing 4th overall. The winner of the gold medal was instead Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter. Hansdotter placed second in both runs but finished with the fastest combined time of 1:38:63. Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener, just +0.05 off the pace, and Austria’s Katharina Gallhuber, +0.32 off the pace, won silver and bronze respectively.
Team USA’s Megan McJames, of Park City, Utah, placed 36th overall, +10.68 off the winning time. Alice Merryweather, from Hingham, Mass., finished in 42nd. Resi Stiegler, from Jackson Hole, Wyo., did not finish, hooking a gate with her ski and crashing in the first run.
Men’s Super G
In the men’s Super-G, Austria’s Matthias Mayer won gold with a time of 1:24:44. Switzerland’s Beat Feuz won silver, +0.13 off Mayer’s time, and Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud took the bronze, +0.18 off the pace. Mayer’s win broke Norway’s record—four gold medals in the past four Olympic men’s Super-G races. Ryan Cochran-Siegle, of Starksboro, Vt., was the top finisher for Team USA, placing 14th overall, only +1.28 off the pace. Jared Goldberg, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was not too far behind, coming in 24th.
Team USA’s expected top finishers, Andrew Weibrecht and Ted Ligety, did not finish. Andrew Weibrecht, out of Lake Placid, N.Y., is a two-time Super-G Olympic medalist, winning bronze in 2010 and silver in 2014. Ted Ligety, from Park City, Utah, has also been a top finisher in past Olympics, wining gold in the 2006 and 2014 games. Weibrecht got too much air off a roller, unable to bring his line back on course. Ligety skied the top of the course with a tight, fast line, only one second off the pace. However, he didn’t set up enough on one of the tighter, more technical turns, missing the gate and receiving a DNF.