Shiffrin takes silver in Alpine combined
JEONGSEON, South Korea
Mikaela Shiffrin already was assured of earning her third career medal, each in a different event, when Lindsey Vonn prepared to propel herself out of the starting gate as the final starter in the final race of her Olympic career.
This slalom portion of the two-leg Alpine combined would be the first — and only — time Vonn, 33, and U.S. teammate Shiffrin, 22, would compete against each other at any Olympics. Could Vonn possibly summon a “miracle,” as she called it, a slalom performance from somewhere in her past to make a lead from the downhill portion stand up? Could Shiffrin hold onto her silver?
With the snow carefully descending under the artificial lights lining the course, the drama quickly dimmed. Vonn’s slalom lasted all of about 10 seconds before she went off-course, leaving Shiffrin in second place Thursday between two women from Switzerland: gold medalist Michelle Gisin and bronze medalist Wendy Holdener.
Gisin, whose older sister Dominique tied for first in the 2014 Olympic downhill, produced a total time of 2 minutes, 20.90 seconds that was 0.97 seconds better than Shiffrin’s. Holdener was nearly 11/2 second off Gisin’s pace, turning in the fastest slalom after standing 10th after the downhill.
Shiffrin ranked sixth in the downhill, 1.21 seconds slower than Gisin, and wasn’t able to make up that large a deficit in her forte, the slalom, which was a much shorter track. The downhill took about 100 seconds; the slalom about 40.
“Clearly,” said Shiffrin’s coach, Mike Day, “the downhill didn’t go quite to plan.”
German athletes let emotions fly
So much for that stoic, businesslike reputation that seems to follow German athletes.
At the Pyeongchang Olympics, they’re letting the emotions fly.
And for good reason, too.
The struggles of Sochi 2014 are forgotten for the Germans, who already have 13 gold medals at Pyeongchang — the most that the country has ever claimed at a Winter Games — and are heading into the final weekend of Olympic competition second behind only Norway in the overall medal standings with 25 total medals.
“I don’t know what to say,” said biathlete Laura Dahlmeier, already a winner of three medals for Germany in Pyeongchang. “Woo-hoo!”
That sentiment needs no translation.
It’s not like the Germans embarrassed themselves in Sochi, where they won eight golds and finished sixth in the overall medal standings — at an Olympics where the real medal numbers are undeniably skewed by the Russian doping scandal.
But the Germans came to Pyeongchang seeking redemption anyway, and they’ve delivered.