Inside the FIS World Alpine Ski Championships
Austria’s Anna Fenninger isn’t ready to call the 2015 Worlds the Tina Maze Championships quite yet.
The Austrian superstar set a blistering pace during the morning run on the ultra-technical Beaver Creek Raptor GS Course and cemented her status as an elite all-around skier in the afternoon by adding a second gold medal to go along with the silver she won in the Downhill. Fenninger’s athleticism was on full display as she avoided disaster late in the second run when she caught an edge. Her body was sent lurching forward in what would have been a violent crash with ski tips crossed for most racers.
Instead, Fenninger recovered, stayed on course, and didn’t even lose any real time. Fenninger bested the field with an impressive combined time of 2:19.16.
“I made a big mistake, and I thought, `I can’t stay in the course,'” Fenninger said. “I was fighting and going back into the course. When I came into the finish line, I can’t believe I won. Amazing. “It was too much for me.”
At 1.4 seconds behind the amazing Austrian, Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany won silver while Sweden’s Jessica Lindell-Vikarby finished third.
The remarkable medal run of Slovenia’s Tina Maze ended with a fifth place finish in the Giant Slalom. Maze was trying to become the first skier since Norway’s Lasse Kjus in the 1999 World Championships (also held in Vail/Beaver Creek) to earn a medal in all five disciplines.
“My energy was not enough to be on the podium. I just couldn’t bring out more,” Maze said.
The Giant Slalom is often called the biggest test of skiers’ skill. Racers navigated nearly 50 gates in each run on Thursday and several of the expected contenders, including Switzerland’s Lara Gut and Eva-Maria Brem of Austria, failed to stay on course during the morning session.
Tiger Woods was in attendance, local ladies Lindsey Vonn held the podium spot for a bit and Mikaela Shiffrin made a run at a medal before settling into eighth place. Both Vonn and Shiffrin put themselves in an impossible position with mistakes and lack of aggression on the first run.
The nineteen year old Shiffrin, who is from nearby Eagle-Vail, will race again on Saturday in her strongest discipline, the Slalom. The gold medalist at Sochi hinted that she won’t feel any extra pressure to perform in front of her hometown crowd. Vonn meanwhile, thanked her fans and exited the World Championships with a bronze medal in the Super G.
The Red Tail Finish Area was rocking all morning and afternoon long. There is little doubt that Pepi’s in Vail Village, the official Austrian Haus all year long and especially during the World Championships, is still rocking right now with flags waving.
Fenninger will try to make it four medals in five events as the Ladies’ Slalom will be held on Saturday beginning at 10 am mountain time.
FanRag Sports Wants to Know:
Both racers have two golds and a silver, but which skier has been more impressive at the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships, @AnnaFenninger or @TinaMaze?
Will Mikaela Shiffrin medal in the Ladies’ Slalom?
Be Seen, Be Heard, Be a Fan!
Make sure to follow @Pat_Whitehurst and @FanRagSports then check out the live stream and VIP Tailgate and Mikaela Shiffrin Watch Party from @MontanasAvon during the World Alpine Ski Championships Saturday.