- Alpine Skiing
An Olympic first: Dominique Gisin, Tina Maze tie for gold in Sochi women's downhill
For the first time in Olympic history two gold medals will be awarded in an Alpine event after the Slovenian and Swiss finished with identical times in the Sochi women’s downhill. Lara Gut of Switzerland earned the bronze.
- Full event replay – women’s downhill
- Tina Maze thrilled after winning Slovenia’s first Olympic gold
- Dominique Gisin shares gold in downhill
- Tina Maze crashes Dominique Gisin’s downhill party
- France’s Marie Marchand-Arvier crashes violently
- Switzerland’s Lara Gut grabs bronze in downhill
- Julia Mancuso misses podium in downhill
- Laurenne Ross 11th in downhill
- Tina Maze - Pop star, model, gold medalist
The previous closest finish at the Games came in Nagano in 1998 when Picabo Street edged Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister by .01 for super-G gold.
There have been four other ties in Olympic Alpine skiing, but but never for the top prize.
At the St. Moritz Games of 1948, when timing was still only extended through tenths of a second, Karl Molitor and Ralph Olinger of Switzerland shared bronze in the men's downhill. At the 1998 Nagano Games, Didier Cuche of Switzerland and Hans Knausz of Austria tied for men’s super-G silver. In 1992, American Diann Roffe and Austria’s Anita Wachter tied for silver in the women’s giant slalom in Albertville. And, at the 1964 Innsbruck Games, Christine Goitschel of France and Jean Saubert of the U.S. tied for women’s giant slalom silver.
Embedded video_content_type: Tina Maze, Dominique Gisin finish in first ever tie for gold in women's downhill
Overall, there have been eight gold-medal tied in Winter Olympic history.
Gisin’s victory is the first by a Swiss skier in the women’s downhill since Michela Figini in Sarajevo in 1984. Maze, who won two silvers in Vancouver four years ago, is the first Olympic champion from Slovenia.
"I made everything to achieve that great race today, but it's crazy," Gisin told Reuters, lost in amazement. "Maybe all the problems and setbacks I had to face in my career have contributed to make me skiing so fast today. I attacked hard from top to bottom."
Gisin, who along with Gut finished 1-2 in the third downhill training on Saturday, started the race with Bib 8 and sped to an early lead in 1:41.57, an almost unthinkable result for a woman who has won just twice in the downhill on the World Cup tour and crashed violently approaching the finish in Vancouver four years ago. The 28-year-old then stood in the finish area for nearly a half hour and watched nervously as a parade of the sport’s biggest names and medal favorites came down the Rosa Khutor after her.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Fit to be tied: Tina Maze, Dominique Gisin share Sochi downhill gold
A dozen women failed to come down faster.
Among them was American Julia Mancuso, hoping to add a U.S.-record tying fifth Olympic medal to her resume after winning super-combined bronze on Monday. Starting 12th, she opened with a strong top section of the course, but got bounced on her skis by terrain in the middle and bled precious time. She wound up finishing eighth, 0.99 seconds off the pace.
"It's actually crazy that it comes down to one-hundredth (of a second) and there is not one-thousandth as a tiebreaker," Mancsuo, who had the fastest downhill run in the super-combined, told AP of the final margin.
Embedded video_content_type: Tina Maze sings her hit single
Gut started 17th, and had appeared to have a real chance to usurp her teammate. Where other skiers were knocked off balance by the bumps and rolls, the 22-year-old maintained contact between her skis and the snow, gradually building speed. But when she transitioned to the lower end of the course, which softened under 50-degree temperatures, she lost some of her advantage a slide across the finish a tenth of a second slower than Gisin.
"When you know you could do more it's normal to be disappointed," Gut, who rued a missed opportunity, told AP.
Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch, the World Cup downhill standings leader coming into the Games and on everyone’s pre-Games list of gold medal favorites, was also chattered by the terrain throughout her run and finished in 13th place, 1.17 second off the pace.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Sochi Olympics: Women's downhill
"It was not my day," Hoefl-Riesch, who won gold in Monday's super-combined, told Reuters. "I made many mistakes and not a good enough line so it was not enough."
Then came Maze, a woman desperate to find the form that carried her to the most dominant World Cup season in history a year ago. At every interval, the 30-year-old got the green light, gaining speed on Gisin where the others faltered. She was 0.02 ahead at the first time check, up to 0.09 at the second, ahead 0.13 at third, and building to 0.38 at the fourth. Maze cleared the final jump, got in her tuck and tried to squeeze every millisecond she could out of her skis.
When she crossed, the clock showed 0.00, indicating she crossed in the exact same time as Gisin.
"I am really glad I was able to make it happen today," Maze told Reuters. "I came close to the gold medal at Vancouver so I was aiming for one here. It's great to share the title with Dominique, who is a great skier and pretty similar to me with her character and attitude. She is a fighter too."
Embedded owg_slideshow: Spotlight: Dominique Gisin
The race featured a pair of nasty crashes.
France's Marie Marchand-Arvier caught an edge coming off an early jump, lost her balance, and skid out of control on her back into the safety fencing. She remained motionless for a moment but skied off under her own power.
Later in the race, Alexandra Coletti of Monaco crashed violently in the mid-section of the course and immediately screamed in pain. Television coverage of the race immediately cut from the scene, indicating the injury was serious. Coletti was carried off the course on a stretcher and later taken by helicopter to a hospital. The extent or nature of her injury was not immediately known.