Pinturault, Worley lead winning French squad in team event
The Nation’s Team Event at World Championships is arguably one of the most nail-biting disciplines to watch. Like the City Events, athletes go head-to-head in a parallel paneled slalom, but in this case, it’s a team effort with four athletes–two female, two male–per team. The team with the fastest combined time each round advances. Switzerland was heavily favorited to win on home snow after winning at World Cup Finals last year. Even with heavy weights Wendy Holdener and Luca Aerni they were eliminated in the small final.
At the end of the day, France took the win. World Cup all stars Alexis Pinturault and Tessa Worley were joined on their team by Adeline Baud Mugnier and Mathieu Faivre. While they knew they were a strong team, the victory was a surprise.
“No, we didn’t expect that,” Worley said. “We were ready to fight really hard until the end. We knew we could do it, but was a long shot, for sure. There are so many runs to do. You need to fight very hard to the end, and the whole team was really strong.”
They won by 0.08 seconds over surprise silver medalists, Slovakia.
Slovakia’s team consisted of slalom superstars Veronika Velez Zuzulova and Petra Vlhova in addition to Andreas Zampa and Matej Falat. It was a particularly big moment for Velez Zuzulova. After competing in seven World Championships, she finally won a medal. The veteran also said that it was nice to compete with Vlhova as a teammate and not have to fight against her like they do all season in World Cup slaloms.
Team Sweden ended the day in third place with Frida Hansdotter, Mattias Hargin, Maria Pietilae-Holmner and Andre Mhyrer after beating Switzerland. This is Sweden’s first medal of the 2017 World Championships.
The United States was eliminated in the first round going up against Canada. Resi Stiegler–the most veteran athlete on the team– said she’s excited to be in St. Moritz and plans to shake off this performance before heading into the tech races.
Athletes have Feb. 15 off before giant slalom and slalom races kick off on Feb. 16.
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