by Alain Chivilò
Cortina d’Ampezzo Italy, first Downhill, 26/1/2024.
The smiling podium with five skiers closes a morning with an atmosphere that could be cut with a knife. Dark faces, worries, controversies, ironies and little entertainment except some amusement. Well done to the skiers for staying focused as much as possible.
The ski track presented a key point given by a curve before entering the so-called Muro. The technicians and athletes have investigated the danger but the race is always something else entirely. In many cases the speed and delay of the line did not allow the right advances, causing the athletes who were seen in front of them to slip through the protective tarpaulin. Among these, Mikaela Shiffrin with a beating and severe fright, Federica Brignone ready to brake in a fall, Corinne Suter in shock rather than injured (eye troubles).
The long waiting times, but also the tension that is difficult to ease, the snow and temperature conditions themselves have created a mix of values and performances.
The news concerns Sofia Goggia: it is impossible for her to be alone on the podium. Today five athletes in the three steps. A similar event happened in 2018 in the Men’s Super G in Beaver Creek.
Your Majesties in Cortina were different in the Organizing Committee, Track, City and Athletes, therefore the title remains vacant given the high competitiveness.
Stephanie Venier wins in 1.33.06, +0.39 Lara Gut-Behrami, +0.71 Sofia Goggia, Christina Ager, Valerie Grenier.
In the difficult moment, after Shiffrin’s fall and the related long wait, Gut-Behrami set the best time, interpreting the track very well in the key points. Sofia Goggia places with number 15, while the other three go down with bib numbers 18, 24 and 31. Stephanie Venier returns to victory (second in her career) exactly one day shy of five years, 2019 Garmisch Downhill. She is the only one to find the balance between effectiveness on skis and track reading. Lara 82nd career podium, Valerie fourth, Christina first, Sofia 53rd.
With the hope that crashes like today won’t happen, happy races in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the pearl or rather the queen of the Dolomites. Have a nice weekend.
©AC, NDSL, AM, Alain Chivilo