Alpine Skiing - Wolf pins her hopes on super-G success
The super-G made its Olympic debut in Calgary, and naturally enough the frontrunners were expected to be those racers who had prospered during the World Cup season. In the case of the women’s event that meant Swiss duo Maria Walliser and Michela Figini and the West German Marina Kiehl, who had already won the Olympic downhill but was essentially a slalom specialist.
Austria’s Sigrid Wolf was very much regarded as an outsider, despite the fact that she did have two major super-G victories to her name, having won events in Sestriere and Tignes in the run-up to the Games.
A month before Calgary, Wolf had suffered the pain of disqualification in a race she had won because she used a safety pin to stop her bib from flapping in the wind. Ever since, she had worn the safety pin around her neck as a charm, a reminder that victory never comes easily and to inspire her in the face of adversity. In the super-G in Calgary, the safety pin did its job as she produced an inspirational run.
By the time Wolf took to the course, Figini had set a benchmark time of 1 minute 20.03 seconds; Walliser meanwhile had clocked a time that was almost half a second slower.
Wolf was 12th out of the gate. Far from being overawed by the occasion, or by Figini's time, she skied beautifully, crossing the line exactly a second quicker than the Swiss athlete and going clear at the top of the leaderboard.
The question now was whether slalom specialist Kiehl, who raced directly after Wolf, could produce a performance to match. On this occasion, the answer was an emphatic ‘no’ – the German was never in contention and ended up finishing just 13th overall.
Wolf was subsequently named Austria's sportswoman of the year. She followed up by taking silver in the super-G at the following year's World Championships, but suffered a knee injury in 1990 that brought her career to a premature end.