PyeongChang Winter Olympics: Vonn & Shiffrin go head-to-head in the Alpine Combined

Swiss women Gisin, Holdener rule the day at the Jeongseon Alpine Center.
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With bad weather moving into PyeongChang, the Women’s Alpine Combined took place a day earlier than originally scheduled. American favorite Mikaela Shiffrin opted out of the Women’s Downhill the day before in order to focus on the Alpine Combined.

In the morning, Lindsey Vonn put down the fastest time in the Downhill portion of the event, 0.74 seconds ahead of Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway, and 0.77 seconds ahead of the third fastest run, Michelle Gisin of Switzerland. Shiffrin was 1.98 seconds behind Vonn in sixth place, but still a major contender, especially considering Shiffrin’s technical prowess.

Michelle Gisin finishes the Alpine Combined slalom.

Swiss skier Michelle Gisin finishes the Alpine Combined slalom.

The slalom course was straight and quick, with all of the racers finishing in under 45 seconds. Wendy Holdener of Switzerland attacked hard and jumped from tenth in the Downhill to first place overall with what would be the fastest slalom run of the day. Shiffrin skied nearly perfect in the slalom to beat Holdener’s overall time. She grabbed the top spot with five racers to go.

Gisin was able to maximize her advantage in the Downhill, and despite being 0.24 slower in the slalom, her combined time was still 0.97 seconds ahead of Shiffrin. Gisin took the lead with just two racers left.

Mowinckel, who won silver in the Downhill the day prior, skied a bit loose and made a number of mistakes towards the bottom of the course, crossing the finish line into the fourth position overall. The crowd was nervously excited as Lindsey Vonn’s name was announced, knowing that if there was one skier who could pull of an upset, it was her. About ten seconds into her run, however, Vonn caught a tip on a gate and skied off course. Gisin remained in the top spot, Shiffrin second, and Holdener third. 

Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her silver medal in the Alpine Combined.

Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her silver medal in the Alpine Combined.

“It’s been a mental roller coaster,” said Shiffrin after the race regarding the continuous schedule changes the Women skiers have had to deal with. “Coming out here today, I did everything that I needed to do to have a shot at a medal, and it’s really cool to have that work out.”

After an emotional day yesterday in the Downhill, Vonn was in relatively high spirits despite her DNF. “Slalom is frustrating for me,” she said after the race. “I risked everything, I fought as hard as I could, and sometimes when I try to be aggressive in slalom, I make my turn a little too early and I straddle [a gate]. I did that as well in the Combined in Vancouver [2010 Winter Olympics]. And it’s frustrating… In most ways, I’m happy with today. But, of course, I wanted to get on the podium one last time."

The only other American to compete, Alice Merryweather, finished in 18th with a time of 1:43.17. This was the final individual women’s event of the games, and likely the last time we'll see this event in the Olympics. See full results here.

Men's Slalom

An hour away from Jeongseon, in the men’s slalom in YongPyong, Austrian slalom favorite Marcel Hirscher missed a gate, resulting in his first DNF since 2016. Andre Myhrer of Sweden filled the void at the top of the podium with a time of 1:38.99. Ramon Zenhaeusern of Switzerland was second, 0.34 seconds back, and Hirscher’s teammate Michael Matt was bronze, 0.67 off the lead. David Chodounsky, of Crested Butte, Colo., was Team USA’s highest finisher in 18th, 1.85 seconds behind Myhrer. See full results here.

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