Switzerland win gold in inaugural Alpine skiing team event
Switzerland has won the first running of the Alpine skiing team event at an Olympic Winter Games, defeating Austria 3-1 to take the gold medal at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre on Saturday 24 February.
The match-up pitted the two top-seeded nations at PyeongChang 2018 in the inaugural running of the event, in which four skiers from each country race in turn on a slalom course against another skier in a knockout format.
The Swiss team of Denise Feierabend, Ramon Zenhaeusern, Wendy Holdener and Daniel Yule defeated Germany in the quarter-finals and France in the semi-finals to match up against the Austrian squad of Katharina Liensberger, Michael Matt, Katharina Gallhuber and Marco Schwarz.
Liensberger struck first for Austria in the final but Zenhaeusern and Holdener turned the advantage back to the Swiss, and when Schwarz – needing not only to win but to post a fast time – made an error on the final run, Yule crossed the line first and the Swiss had won the gold medal.
Yule paid tribute to the team format of the event. "It's just amazing and I think, to do it in a team event, for us skiers who usually are always doing an individual sport to just do it all together like this for Team Switzerland, that was just amazing," he said.
The victory was especially sweet for Holdener, who now has a complete set of medals from these Games – a gold to add to the silver medal she won in the women’s slalom and bronze in the women’s Alpine combined slalom.
“It's just great to win with the team today. I knew we could do it. I think everyone knows that, but in end, you just have to do it. Pressure was here,” Holdener said. “It's just great to have such an Olympics. It's not all the time like this and I'm really happy that I could show my best skiing here in Korea."
In the small final to decide the teams event bronze medal, Norway and France split the four runs 2-2 but claimed victory on time difference – a mere 0.12 seconds – as Norway’s Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen hit the line ahead of Clement Noel in the final run.
Austria’s Schwarz adds the silver medal to the three gold medals he won at the Youth Olympic Games at Innsbruck 2012.