Michelle Gisin of Switzerland overcame a strong field at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre on Thursday 22 February to win the women’s Alpine skiing combined competition at PyeongChang 2018. A silver medallist in the event at the 2017 World Championships, Gisin topped the podium from the USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin, with reigning world champion Wendy Holdener, also of Switzerland, third.
Third behind the USA’s Lindsey Vonn and Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel after the downhill section, the 24-year-old Gisin held her nerve in the slalom to overhaul Shiffrin’s target time by 0.97 seconds, as the snow began to fall thick and fast. The race leader then looked on as Mowinckel finished outside her time and Vonn then straddled a gate, leaving her to celebrate a second Olympic gold medal for her family, after older sister Dominique’s downhill win at Sochi 2014.
Holdener, who was nearly three seconds down on Vonn after the downhill, skied into the gold medal position on her slalom descent. Bidding for a third career Olympic gold and her second of PyeongChang 2018 after winning the giant slalom, Shiffrin then posted a time of 40.52 to take a lead of 0.47 seconds and put the pressure on the five skiers still to go.
Gisin rose to the occasion with a storming run, however, sealing a somewhat unexpected gold. “It’s amazing to be on the podium with two such amazing skiers and I knew I would have to produce the slalom of my life just to have a chance to get that gold medal,” said the Swiss skier. “I’m just so excited that I found my run. I’ve been looking for that run the whole season and it came at just the perfect moment.”
“I made a bit too big a mistake in the downhill to come back from that in the slalom but I can be really proud of a lot of the turns I made today,” said silver medallist Shiffrin. “It’s really, really incredible to walk away from here with a medal. It feels good. It’s a nice way to end the Olympics. I started off with a bang and ending with a medal on the podium is really cool.”
“It’s amazing to be on the podium for the second time in these Olympics,” said Holdener, who won silver in the slalom on 16 February. “Today I can celebrate with Michelle. She’s a good friend of mine. Last year I was in front in some races and it’s so nice to celebrate with her. She just skied so good today.”
“I’ll take a lot of great memories with me,” said Vonn on what could well be her Olympic farewell. “I’ve had such a great experience with my team-mates here. When you’re older you have a different appreciation for life and the experiences you’ve had. I greatly appreciate my team, everyone who helped get me here, my friends and family. It’s been a great ride.”