Most of the world’s top female Alpine skiers gathered at the Jeongseon complex in the Republic of Korea at the weekend to put the PyeongChang 2018 facilities to the test in FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup downhill and super-G events.
Italy’s Sophia Goggia stole the show, not once but twice upstaging Lindsey Vonn of the USA, as she claimed her first ever World Cup victories. And completing an identical podium for both events was Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec.
In the downhill on 4 March, racing under brilliant blue skies, the 24-year old Goggia produced a near flawless run to pip Vonn, who had been quickest in both practice runs, by 0.07 seconds.
"This means a lot to me," said the Italian, who has been in brilliant form all season. “I just tried to push as hard as I could. I definitely focused on myself and nothing more.”
Meanwhile Vonn, one of the leading lights of the women’s Alpine scene, was philosophical in defeat in what was just her fourth race after coming back from a broken arm in November.
It just makes me even more hungry for the Olympics next yearLindsey Vonn
“I know there is a lot of time to be had, but I think it’s better that I save my best skiing for the Olympics,” said the American, who is among the official ambassadors for PyeongChang 2018. “Of course, I would have loved to win today, but I was second as well in Vancouver in the test events before the Olympics, so if that shows any indication of what’s to come next year, hopefully that’s what it means… I skied it as fast as I could, and I have no regrets.”
The following day Goggia once again pushed Vonn into second place, this time beating her rival by a margin of 0.04 seconds in the super-G. Stuhec repeated her third-place from the downhill finishing 0.53 seconds behind the winner.
The results meant that Stuhec moved into first place in the overall standings in the race for the super-G crystal globe, ahead of Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein.