Five days into the 2018 Olympics and after several delays due to weather, the women finally got to racing with the giant slalom at the Yongpyong Alpine Center. American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin, skiing with the weight of multiple gold-medal expectations, came through in a big way, capturing her first medal of the PyeongChang Games in come-from-behind fashion, winning GS gold.

The wind that has plagued the start of the alpine events was not an issue on Thursday, but the first run course setting by the Italians was a challenging, very turny set. Perhaps shaking off some Olympic nerves, Shiffrin sat in second behind Italian Veteran Manuela Moelgg after the opening run.

A slightly more open second run provided the opportunity for Shiffrin to take the risk needed to walk away with the win. A small bobble nearing the finish notwithstanding, the American was near perfect en route to her second career Olympic title. Normally subdued in the finish, when she knew she had gold, the American dropped to her knees and let the tears flow.

“To be honest, it’s incredible,” Shiffrin shared after her win. “The biggest thing is with my GS, it’s so special with how it’s been building this year and since Sochi. I got fifth in Sochi and was two-tenths off the podium and thought, ‘I am not the best GS skier so I don’t deserve to win a gold medal, or even a medal in GS.’ At that time, I set a goal to become the best GS skier in the world. To be able to put down a run that was really taking risk and fighting for it, I’m so happy for that.”

The Olympic women’s GS podium. Image Credit: GEPA Pictures/Andreas Pranter

Shiffrin has struggled – if you could even call it that – some in the past with her GS, with dominant wins on the World Cup interspersed with more pedestrian performances. Shiffrin admitted that her GS has been a big project for her since her disappointment four years ago in Sochi.

“It’s been a work in progress every season with giant slalom,” she explained. “It feels like I’ve just come up short (in the past) and there’s always somebody else who’s just a little bit better than I am. It’s actually the same thing this season. I’m third in the giant slalom standings and I’ve had some heartbreaking races and some amazing races but to come here and do that today was incredible.”

Looking at Thursday’s result, it seems that Shiffrin was able to get right back into shape after her mini-crisis of three DNFs in her last four races before the Olympics. Additionally, she managed all the mental hurdles of weather problems and rescheduling of races quite well.

The surprise of the day went to Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel. The Norwegian captured her country’s first women’s Olympic alpine medal since 1936 when Laila Schou Nilsen finished third in the combined in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

“So many emotions, I can’t really – I’m kind of speechless,” an elated Mowinckel said. “It’s unreal, then it’s real, then it’s just like I’m so happy. I’m just happy that I could put together two runs. This is finally coming together as a result of many years doing this. I’ve been close so many times before, but it’s not really been two runs that are good enough. But now I finally feel this season is the season I kind of placed bits together and I’m getting more runs that are high quality and stable.”

Bronze medalist Federica Brignone of Italy admitted to some pre-race pressure given how dominant the Italian women have been in GS over the past few seasons.

“Actually it was a lot of pressure on us too,” she said. “They say we’re the strongest team, the Italian team is really strong, they expect from us a lot of medals. I don’t know, I think my head is going to explode and my heart too. It’s pretty tough right now but I’m so happy.”

Moelgg was not able to match her pace from the first run and fell to eighth place after her second run.

Mowinckel captured Norway’s first women’s alpine medal since 1936. Image Credit: Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom

France’s Tessa Worley, one of the top GS favorites heading into the Games and reigning World Champion, skied too aggressive in the opening run, causing too many mistakes that added up to a deficit of 1.44 seconds after her first run. Despite a valiant effort in the second run, the Frenchwoman could only muster a seventh-place finish.

Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg was also shooting for her third Olympic GS medal in a row after her gold in Vancouver 2010 and bronze in Sochi 2014. Although she has won three world Cup GS races this season and currently leads the GS standings, the German fell short with a fourth-place finish.

“My mistake from the first run was too much today; the hill and the conditions, not being icy, did not allow to really separate yourself,” Rebensburg said. “If it would be a World Cup race the fourth place would be solid, but it’s not. I think I need a bit to let today’s race sink in.”

For the rest of the Americans, Megan McJames finished 31st, Resi Stiegler 36th, and Patricia Mangan did not finish her first run.

The women now race slalom on Friday, Feb. 16, where Shiffrin is the odds-on favorite.


Top 10

  1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  2. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
  3. Federica Brignone (ITA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  4. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) – Stoeckli/Lange
  5. Marta Bassino (ITA) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  6. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  7. Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  8. Manuela Moelgg (ITA) – Dynastar/Lange/Look
  9. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
  10. Sara Hector (SWE) – Head/Head/Head

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  7  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  1:10.82  1:09.20  2:20.02  0.00
 2  6  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:11.17  1:09.24  2:20.41  +0.39  2.73
 3  3  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA  1:10.91  1:09.57  2:20.48  +0.46  3.22
 4  5  205218 REBENSBURG Viktoria 1989 GER  1:11.45  1:09.15  2:20.60  +0.58  4.06
 5  13  299276 BASSINO Marta 1996 ITA  1:11.19  1:09.50  2:20.69  +0.67  4.69
 6  16  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  1:11.32  1:09.73  2:21.05  +1.03  7.21
 7  2  196928 WORLEY Tessa 1989 FRA  1:12.06  1:09.00  2:21.06  +1.04  7.28
 8  1  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA  1:10.62  1:10.58  2:21.20  +1.18  8.26
 9  11  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI  1:11.92  1:09.35  2:21.27  +1.25  8.75
 10  9  506399 HECTOR Sara 1992 SWE  1:11.22  1:10.31  2:21.53  +1.51  10.57
 11  14  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA  1:11.64  1:10.16  2:21.80  +1.78  12.46
 12  18  55947 VEITH Anna 1989 AUT  1:12.43  1:09.67  2:22.10  +2.08  14.56
 13  10  705423 VLHOVA Petra 1995 SVK  1:11.71  1:10.42  2:22.13  +2.11  14.77
 14  19  565471 HROVAT Meta 1998 SLO  1:12.76  1:09.59  2:22.35  +2.33  16.31
 15  20  425771 HAVER-LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR  1:13.13  1:09.97  2:23.10  +3.08  21.56
 16  22  197616 ALPHAND Estelle 1995 SWE  1:14.23  1:08.99  2:23.22  +3.20  22.40
 17  23  56174 HAASER Ricarda 1993 AUT  1:13.37  1:09.99  2:23.36  +3.34  23.38
 18  26  426187 LYSDAHL Kristin 1996 NOR  1:13.45  1:09.95  2:23.40  +3.38  23.66
 19  28  196725 BARIOZ Taina 1988 FRA  1:13.54  1:10.06  2:23.60  +3.58  25.06
 20  25  197319 BAUD MUGNIER Adeline 1992 FRA  1:12.89  1:11.04  2:23.93  +3.91  27.37
 21  29  565401 BUCIK Ana 1993 SLO  1:13.38  1:10.71  2:24.09  +4.07  28.49
 22  17  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE  1:14.08  1:10.14  2:24.22  +4.20  29.40
 23  49  155763 LEDECKA Ester 1995 CZE  1:14.62  1:10.07  2:24.69  +4.67  32.69
 24  24  56032 SCHILD Bernadette 1990 AUT  1:14.50  1:10.31  2:24.81  +4.79  33.53
 25  37  107387 CRAWFORD Candace 1994 CAN  1:14.70  1:10.46  2:25.16  +5.14  35.97
 26  33  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB  1:14.41  1:10.99  2:25.40  +5.38  37.65
 27  38  435334 GASIENICA-DANIEL Maryna 1994 POL  1:13.89  1:11.80  2:25.69  +5.67  39.68
 28  21  516268 WILD Simone 1993 SUI  1:13.52  1:13.23  2:26.75  +6.73  47.10
 29  54  155727 CAPOVA Gabriela 1993 CZE  1:15.80  1:11.62  2:27.42  +7.40  51.79
 30  46  485973 SILANTEVA Anastasiia 1998 RUS  1:15.67  1:12.28  2:27.95  +7.93  55.50
 31  31  538284 MCJAMES Megan 1987 USA  1:16.00  1:12.39  2:28.39  +8.37  58.58
 32  48  385092 KOMSIC Andrea 1996 CRO  1:15.54  1:12.96  2:28.50  +8.48  59.35
 33  32  307255 ISHIKAWA Haruna 1994 JPN  1:16.49  1:12.50  2:28.99  +8.97  62.78
 34  55  385106 STIMAC Ida 2000 CRO  1:16.86  1:14.32  2:31.18  +11.16  78.11
 35  35  415232 ROBINSON Alice 2001 NZL  1:16.66  1:14.53  2:31.19  +11.17  78.18
 36  57  537772 STIEGLER Resi 1985 USA  1:16.72  1:15.02  2:31.74  +11.72  82.03
 37  39  705462 MORAVCIKOVA Sona 1999 SVK  1:17.88  1:14.11  2:31.99  +11.97  83.78
 38  47  665009 SHKANOVA Maria 1989 BLR  1:18.17  1:14.16  2:32.33  +12.31  86.16
 39  51  65117 VANREUSEL Kim 1998 BEL  1:17.60  1:14.92  2:32.52  +12.50  87.49
 40  62  95050 KIRKOVA Maria 1986 BUL  1:18.39  1:14.38  2:32.77  +12.75  89.24
 41  58  705394 KANTOROVA Barbara 1992 SVK  1:17.74  1:15.20  2:32.94  +12.92  90.43
 42  45  35131 GASTALDI Nicol 1990 ARG  1:18.06  1:15.38  2:33.44  +13.42  93.93
 43  50  555018 GASUNA Lelde 1990 LAT  1:18.65  1:15.30  2:33.95  +13.93  97.50
 44  68  715171 MUZAFERIJA Elvedina 1999 BIH  1:19.33  1:15.57  2:34.90  +14.88  104.15
 45  53  325119 GIM Sohui 1996 KOR  1:19.13  1:16.24  2:35.37  +15.35  107.43
 46  61  685018 TSIKLAURI Nino 1993 GEO  1:20.02  1:16.91  2:36.93  +16.91  118.35
 47  56  325124 KANG Youngseo 1997 KOR  1:19.67  1:17.39  2:37.06  +17.04  119.26
 48  66  945000 CLERC Mialitiana 2001 MAD  1:21.82  1:17.18  2:39.00  +18.98  132.84
 49  76  245080 HOZMANN Szonja 2001 HUN  1:21.77  1:17.62  2:39.39  +19.37  135.57
 50  65  197848 ARBEZ Tess 1997 IRL  1:22.12  1:18.12  2:40.24  +20.22  141.52
 51  69  675035 GRIGOROVA Mariya 1996 KAZ  1:22.42  1:18.77  2:41.19  +21.17  148.17
 52  70  235110 RALLI Sophia 1988 GRE  1:22.46  1:19.20  2:41.66  +21.64  151.46
 53  73  298936 MEHILLI Suela 1994 ALB  1:24.67  1:21.90  2:46.57  +26.55  185.82
 54  72  785007 JANUSKEVICIUTE Ieva 1994 LTU  1:26.38  1:20.64  2:47.02  +27.00  188.97
 55  64  125038 KONG Fanying 1996 CHN  1:26.30  1:23.58  2:49.88  +29.86  208.99
 56  74  959003 NG Arabella Caroline Yili 2001 HKG  1:27.25  1:23.29  2:50.54  +30.52  213.61
 57  78  525085 CARIKCIOGLU Ozlem 1994 TUR  1:27.71  1:25.29  2:53.00  +32.98  230.83
 58  79  315226 VUJICIC Jelena 2001 MNE  1:30.53  1:28.12  2:58.65  +38.63  270.37
Did not finish 2nd run
 4  56217 BRUNNER Stephanie 1994 AUT  1:11.53
 12  565268 DREV Ana 1985 SLO  1:11.64
 36  107613 GRENIER Valerie 1996 CAN  1:15.74
 40  536481 SCHLEPER Sarah 1979 MEX  1:16.80
 60  255357 EINARSDOTTIR Freydis Halla 1994 ISL  1:20.02
 63  695108 KNYSH Olha 1995 UKR  1:20.51
 67  6000000 SIMADER Sabrina 1998 KEN  1:23.27
Disqualified 2nd run
 77  245076 MAROTY Mariann Mimi 1998 HUN  1:29.74
 81  335024 KIM Ryon-Hyang 1992 PRK  1:40.22
Did not finish 1st run
 8  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI
 15  565373 ROBNIK Tina 1991 SLO
 27  225525 TILLEY Alex 1993 GBR
 30  385096 POPOVIC Leona 1997 CRO
 34  6535765 MANGAN Patricia 1997 USA
 41  155699 PAULATHOVA Katerina 1993 CZE
 42  115115 BARAHONA Noelle 1990 CHI
 43  425981 SKJOELD Maren 1993 NOR
 44  155728 DUBOVSKA Martina 1992 CZE
 75  516455 SCHENKEL Alexia Arisarah 1996 THA
 80  395022 JOGEVA Anna Lotta 1999 EST
Disqualified 1st run
 71  959300 PELLEGRIN Elise 1991 MLT
Did not start 1st run
 52  385101 ZBASNIK Lana 1999 CRO
 59  465098 CAILL Ania Monica 1995 ROU
Article Tags: Premium Olympics

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Monica Huebner
Editorial Intern
- Monica is a native of Garmisch-Partenkrichen, Germany, and skied for SC Garmisch before a stint with the German national ski team. She eventually became an NCAA athlete at the University of Denver where she won the individual NCAA slalom title in 2015 and a team championship in 2016.
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