Corinne Suter wins Olympic downhill gold, Goggia gets silver and Shiffrin finishes 18th
The Associated Press
BEIJING — From crying on crutches to a gold medal in her clutches.
Corinne Suter, a 27-year-old Swiss skier who injured both knees just before the start of the season, edged defending Olympic champion Sofia Goggia by 0.16 seconds Tuesday to win the downhill race at the Beijing Games.
Suter said this week that she had been on crutches for a month and in constant pain after her fall. Shortly after returning to racing in December, she posted a picture of herself in tears taken not long after the incident.
She has been skiing this season, but not at her best until recently.
“I was feeling good from the beginning of the season but my head wasn’t really good,” Suter said. “But today I felt a lot of confidence and I think this was the last (piece of the) puzzle.”
Goggia has also been dealing with injury. The best downhiller in the world hurt her left knee about a month ago during a super-G race in Cortina d’Ampezzo. She still managed to take the lead in Tuesday’s race by nearly half a second when she set off shortly before Suter. The Italian let out a lengthy roar after crossing the line and then kissed a television camera.
“I gave everything I could. I was really happy with my skiing. I felt like the speed was there in the upper part because I was really jumping a lot everywhere,” Goggia said. “I’m sorry for the last part. I felt like maybe there’d been some parts of the slope I had some wind against me, but it’s something you cannot control.
“In the end I’m happy with my result, because being here at the Olympics after my crash in Cortina was not guaranteed at all.”
The 29-year-old Goggia has dominated the downhill in recent seasons and would have been the favorite if not for tearing a ligament in her left knee and sustaining a minor fracture in that leg, along with tendon damage.
Goggia had won the last eight World Cup downhills she finished, a streak that began in December 2020, when she was beaten by Suter. Suter also won the last downhill race before the Olympics.
Suter is the first woman since Lindsey Vonn in 2010 to hold the Olympic and world championship titles in downhill at the same time.
Nadia Delago of Italy finished 0.57 behind Suter for bronze. She was briefly in the lead and appeared to be sobbing in disbelief after she crossed the line. She then hugged her older sister Nicol, who had finished a short time earlier.
“It’s so special that we are here together. My first Olympics with her, it’s unbelievable,” said Nadia Delago, who had never been on the podium in a World Cup race or major championship. “We help each other, and I’m so grateful that we came here together.”
Mikaela Shiffrin, who did not finish her opening runs in either of her initial two events, finished in 18th place, 2.49 behind Suter.
Ester Ledecka failed in her second attempt to win a second event at a second straight Olympics. Ledecka started fifth and was leading but slipped and struggled to stay up. She managed to right herself but finished more than six seconds slower than Suter.
Ledecka became the first competitor to win gold in two different sports at the same Winter Games with her surprise victory in the super-G four years ago. She successfully defended her gold in snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom last week but finished fifth in the super-G.
The race was halted for about 15 minutes after Camille Cerutti crashed. The French skier lost control after a jump and slid a long way down the slope, loudly screaming the whole time. She was taken off the mountain on a sled.
An hour before the scheduled start of the race, the wind was whipping at about 15 mph (about 25 kph), with gusts topping 25 mph (40 kph) at the top of the hill. The start was was delayed for 30 minutes because of the wind.
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