Goergl claims super-G win in Italy
Elisabeth Goergl claimed a timely second World Cup win of the season on Thursday, triumphing in the super-G race held in Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA). The Austrian, a double bronze medalist at Vancouver 2010, skied superbly to fend off the challenge of Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch, edging home by 0.04 seconds. Her compatriot, Nicole Hosp, completed the podium when she came in 0.34 seconds behind.
Goergl explained that, with the Olympic Winter Games less than two weeks away, she is feeling confident in her performances and her preparation.
“What I am looking for every day is the way to ski the best,” she said. “That the main focus and of course it is great when it pays off and you are the fastest. For now, I feel very comfortable on my equipment. I am very happy I can ski the way I want to and that I am healthy. I appreciate every day.”
This victory, in the first of two races at the Italian venue this week, took her up to eighth in the overall World Cup rankings, a table currently led by Hoefl-Riesch. The German, gold medalist in the combined and slalom events in Vancouver, extended her advantage over Anna Fenninger (AUT), who finished fifth, with what was her first super-G podium finish of the season.
“The consistency has been missing a little bit,” she admitted. “With the Olympics getting closer, I hope I will have enough of this consistency and mental strength entering the races there.”
American duo take Four Continents Gold
American pair Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue left their best until last as they won gold in the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, held in Chinese Taipei.
Trailing Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier after the short dance, they went on to produce a superb performance in Thursday’s free dance – skating to ‘Nocturne’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and picking up 97.20 points. This score, a personal best, ensured them a total of 158.25 points, a finish of 4.53 points ahead of their rivals.
Hubbell said that he and his partner are hitting some form. “I feel that we finally have proven ourselves as a strong, consistent team that deserves to be at the top,” she said. “We can’t wait until next season and [to] keep pushing higher.”
Despite their victory, Hubbell and Donohue face a wait to discover whether they will be competing at Sochi 2014. They are currently first alternates for the US figure skating team.
Another American pair, Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton, took third place in the event – claiming an impressive bronze after scoring 144.95 points in their first appearance at the competition.
Japan’s Kanako Murakami was the day’s other big winner, scoring a season-best 64.73 points in the ladies’ short programme to claim gold. China’s Zijun Li came second with a personal best 62.84 points while another Japanese skater, Hanuka Imai, took third.
“I didn’t want to come to Four Continents but now I’m glad I came here,” smiled Murakami, who will also compete in the free skate event.