“WOAH! That was a Rodeo of a Super-G course and first race of #worldcupfinals but I pulled off the WIN!!!”
The first day of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals at Panorama Resort in Canada were marked by dominant skiers being defeated, only to fight back in the second run to regain supremacy.
The local organizing committee spread 35 cm of new snow over the course before racing, making the first run on Wednesday (14 March) much softer snow conditions than the second.
In the women’s Super-G Standing, Germany’s Andrea Rothfuss skied to victory in the first race, beating podium favourite, Marie Bochet of France, who finished fourth. Italy’s Melania Corradini took silver and Austria’s Danja Haslacher won bronze.
But in the second race of the day, Bochet fought back to take gold, leaving Rothfuss with silver and Haslacher with her second bronze.
This was not enough for Bochet, who finished with 330 points to win the women’s Super-G Standing World Cup title. With 340 points Rothfuss beat her at the post.
In the women’s Super-G Sitting, USA’s Laurie Stephens had led the rankings before Wednesday’s event. But it was her teammate Alana Nichols’ day to shine as she picked up double gold.
“WOAH! That was a Rodeo of a Super-G course and first race of #worldcupfinals but I pulled off the WIN!!!” Nichols tweeted from @alananichols21 after her first win.
Stephens won two silvers and Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber took home two bronze.
Nichols’ success was not enough, however, to take home the World Cup trophy, which went to Stephens, who clocked up a slim 20-point lead over Nichols.
“Really excited about my skiing today but didn't quite get the overall. Congrats to Laurie Stevens on her Globe,” tweeted Nichols.
In the men’s Super-G Sittin,g the top three skiers finished within less than a second of each other. Canada’s Josh Dueck took a surprise gold in the first race, having finished fourth and eighth the week before. Japan’s Taiki Morii was close behind in second place and France’s Cyril More just 0.04 seconds behind him.
In the second event, Dueck and More both took falls, finishing in 16th and 18th place, respectively. Morii moved up to take gold, followed by Germany’s Georg Kreiter and Japan’s Takeshi Suzuki. Again, the top three finished with less than a second between them. Morii took the World Cup trophy for the men’s Super-G Sitting.
In the men’s Super-G Standing, Markus Salcher came out of nowhere to take double gold. Just last week he finished fourth and seventh in the Colorado leg of the World Cup.
France’s Vincent Manuel-Gauthier took bronze, then silver, switching with Switzerland’s Thomas Pfyl who won silver then bronze.
Salcher’s winning streak was not enough to take the men’s Super-G Standing trophy, however, which went to Manuel-Gauthier who finished 34 points ahead of the Austrian.
In the women’s Super-G Visually Impaired, Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova upstaged Russia’s Alexandra Frantseva, who was leading the rankings after having won two golds in Winter Park. Farkasova won double gold, with Frantseva coming second and USA’s Danelle Umstead third.
But with 360 points (compared to Farkasova’s 340), Russia’s Frantseva won the women’s Super- G Visually Impaired World Cup trophy.
The favourite for the men’s Super-G Visually Impaired was Yon Santacana Maiztegui, who won double gold in Colorado last week. Though he won gold in the first race and USA’s Mark Bathum silver, both did not finish the second race, where the snow had become more compact. Instead Slovakia’s Miroslav Haraus stepped up to first place and Russia’s Valery Redkozubov, who finished third in the first race, pushed forward to take silver. Austria’s Christoph Prettner came third.
Santacana Maiztegui’s lead was too strong though and he took the men’s Super-G Visually Impaired World Cup title with a 65-point lead.
Racing continues on Thursday with the Super Combined event.