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20 Feb 2006
Turin 2006

Dorfmeister's super-G luck is finally in

Eight years before, Austria's Michaela Dorfmeister had suffered the most agonising defeat in the history of Alpine skiing. Skiing in the super-G, she had missed out on a gold medal by 0.01secs – just one hundredth of a second, much less than the blink of an eye, the difference between first and second place. Dorfmeister could have been excused for looking at gold medallist Picabo Street, and wondering if the fates were against her.

Four years later, Dorfmeister came sixth in the Super G, fourth in the giant slalom and fifth in the combined. She was clearly one of the best in the world – but would her luck change.

Success had come in other areas. Dorfmeister had won two world championship and four world cup titles, but never an Olympic gold. Arriving in Turin, she knew that, at 32 years old, this was almost certainly her last chance.

On the morning of the downhill, her prospects improved when the in-form Janice Kostelić withdrew from the event. She admitted that she was nervous, that her sleep had been interrupted because of her dreams about the event, that she could not thinking about the race. And yet she responded with a sensational display, an almost perfect downhill that set a standard that nobody else could match.

Dorfmeister, who knew better than anyone that Alpine skiing depended on fractions of a moment, beat the field by the impressive margin of more than a third of a second. She later said she had “the voices of a thousand little gnomes in my head telling me this would be my day.”

Five days later came the Super G. This time, Kostelić, who had won the silver medal four years earlier, was fit to compete and was many people's favourite. But Dorfmeister was inspired by her downhill victory and produced another fabulous performance to beat her rival by just over a quarter of a second. It was a formidable end to a glittering career. 

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