Although Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin might not yet be a household name in the ski racing world like Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn, or even her teammate Wendy Holdener, the 24-year-old Swiss racer stunned the world on Thursday by taking the gold medal in the women’s alpine combined.

The final individual women’s alpine event of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, the combined event once again took place at the Jeongseon alpine center. With a run of downhill in the morning and a run of slalom on the lower portion of the downhill track in the afternoon, it was a test of speed and technical proficiency as it was anyone’s race to take.

Gisin sat in third after a sunny and fast morning downhill run, 0.77 seconds behind Vonn who set the pace in the downhill. Silver medalist Shiffrin sat in sixth, nearly a full two seconds behind and eventual bronze medalist Holdener found herself a whopping 2.74 seconds off the pace in 10th place.

Anyone who has followed the combined event over the past several season knows that literally anything can happen once the slalom run starts, and Thursday was no different.

Gisin laid down two solid runs to take combined gold. Image Credit: GEPA Pictures/Mathias Mandl

After the usual reshuffling of the results as the second run was underway, Holdener held nothing back and laid down the gauntlet, crossing the line with the fastest slalom run time and a healthy leading margin. Skier after skier couldn’t match her pace until Shiffrin stepped into the gate and was able to take the lead, although losing much of her advantage from the downhill run in the process. When Gisin took to the course, it was aggressive yet smooth skiing that sealed the deal as she was able to cross the line with and advantage of 0.97 seconds.

After Vonn straddled a gate mid-way down her slalom run, the gold was Gisin’s.

“Totally confused, happy, stoked on that,” she shared after the race. “It’s insane; it didn’t really sink in already. These were the craziest 20-some hours I’ve ever had in my life and last couple of weeks were so tough with all the program changes for me doing the speed events and the slalom and everything. I don’t feel like I’ve had a day off in Korea yet and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow to just relax for a day. I didn’t feel I could make that slalom. I have to be honest because I was struggling so bad with the slalom the whole season. Today was the day to finally put all the pieces together in the slalom and that was the key.”

After a heartbreaking fourth-place finish in the slalom — her bread-and-butter event — Shiffrin took some time off racing. After skipping the super-G and downhill races in favor of rest and training, the American superstar was able to walk away with her second medal of the games.

“It feels good,” Shiffrin said. “It’s a nice way to end the Olympics. I started off with a bang and ending with a medal on the podium is really cool. I came into these Olympics knowing I could be a medal threat in multiple disciplines. I didn’t even know how many I would ski. After the gold in the giant slalom I was really hopeful and positive, then I had a tougher day in the slalom but it still feels good though. It’s a pressure I put on myself, but I have an incredible amount of support from fans, friends and family.”

Shiffrin admitted to succumbing to some self-imposed pressure. Image Credit: Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom

It was also Holdener’s second medal of the games after her slalom silver. Delighted to find herself on the podium once more with her good friend Gisin, Holdener is now looking towards the team event. The Swiss is also the reigning World Champion in combined.

“It’s amazing to be on the podium for the second time in these Olympics, and today I can celebrate with Michelle,” said Holdener. “She’s a good friend of mine and last year I was in front in some races and it’s so nice to celebrate with her. She just skied so good today. At the moment it feels great, I’m just really happy I gave everything I had and it’s so nice that it worked out. I thought I’d come in fourth so I am surprised.”

After Shiffrin in second and Vonn’s second-run DNF, Alice Merryweather enjoyed her first Olympic top-15 finish in a solid 15th.

Next on the schedule is the parallel team event scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 24.

Top 10

  1. Michelle Gisin (SUI) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  2. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  3. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
  4. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
  5. Petra Vlhova (SVK) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  6. Valerie Grenier (CAN) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  7. Ramona Siebenhofer (AUT) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  8. Federica Brignone (ITA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  9. Denise Feierabend (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
  10. Marta Bassino (ITA) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  1  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI  1:40.14  40.76  2:20.90  0.00
 2  19  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  1:41.35  40.52  2:21.87  +0.97  7.92
 3  3  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI  1:42.11  40.23  2:22.34  +1.44  11.75
 4  6  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:40.11  42.52  2:22.63  +1.73  14.12
 5  2  705423 VLHOVA Petra 1995 SVK  1:42.58  40.41  2:22.99  +2.09  17.06
 6  18  107613 GRENIER Valerie 1996 CAN  1:41.79  41.65  2:23.44  +2.54  20.73
 7  15  56087 SIEBENHOFER Ramona 1991 AUT  1:40.34  43.11  2:23.45  +2.55  20.81
 8  5  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA  1:42.51  41.02  2:23.53  +2.63  21.47
 9  11  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI  1:43.04  40.90  2:23.94  +3.04  24.81
 10  7  299276 BASSINO Marta 1996 ITA  1:42.61  41.63  2:24.24  +3.34  27.26
 11  20  565401 BUCIK Ana 1993 SLO  1:42.77  41.99  2:24.76  +3.86  31.50
 12  10  197641 GAUCHE Laura 1995 FRA  1:42.15  42.64  2:24.79  +3.89  31.75
 13  12  56174 HAASER Ricarda 1993 AUT  1:41.75  43.06  2:24.81  +3.91  31.91
 14  8  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB  1:42.88  42.23  2:25.11  +4.21  34.36
 15  24  6535600 MERRYWEATHER Alice 1996 USA  1:43.17  43.73  2:26.90  +6.00  48.97
 16  26  435334 GASIENICA-DANIEL Maryna 1994 POL  1:44.35  42.84  2:27.19  +6.29  51.34
 17  30  155699 PAULATHOVA Katerina 1993 CZE  1:44.83  44.26  2:29.09  +8.19  66.85
 18  27  705394 KANTOROVA Barbara 1992 SVK  1:45.58  44.36  2:29.94  +9.04  73.78
Did not finish 2nd run
 4  197497 MIRADOLI Romane 1994 FRA  1:41.83
 13  537544 VONN Lindsey 1984 USA  1:39.37
 23  715171 MUZAFERIJA Elvedina 1999 BIH  1:46.62
Disqualified 2nd run
 9  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO  1:40.98
Did not finish 1st run
 22  296427 SCHNARF Johanna 1984 ITA
 25  45331 SMALL Greta 1995 AUS
 28  107387 CRAWFORD Candace 1994 CAN
 29  65117 VANREUSEL Kim 1998 BEL
 31  115115 BARAHONA Noelle 1990 CHI
 32  107583 REMME Roni 1996 CAN
Did not start 1st run
 14  56177 VENIER Stephanie 1993 AUT
 16  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA
 17  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie 1988 FRA
 21  375018 COLETTI Alexandra 1983 MON
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Sean Higgins
Senior Editor
- A Lake Tahoe native and University of Vermont graduate, Higgins was a member of the Catamounts' 2012 NCAA title winning squad and earned first team All-American honors in 2013. Prior to coming to Ski Racing Media, he coached U14s for the Squaw Valley Ski Team.
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