BEAVER CREEK, Colo. –Anna Fenninger put on quite the show for a packed arena in the giant slalom at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, but it wasn’t her 1.40-second advantage that had the crowd in awe. Fenninger pulled out one of the most incredible recoveries — with the finish line in site — to save herself from disaster while on her way to winning a second gold medal of these championships in dominating fashion over Viktoria Rebensburg and Jessica Lindell-Vikarby.

Fenninger skied a smooth and precise first run to take a commanding lead heading into run two. Her closest competitor after the first leg, Michaela Kirchgasser, found trouble on the bottom portion of the course and was unable to hold the lead. Fenninger pushed out of the start with a large advantage of 1.70 seconds over Rebensburg and built her lead up to a 1.80-second advantage through the final interval. Just when it looked like she was running away with the race, Fenninger caught her inside edge in a transition and violently lurched forward into a snowplow. How she avoided a crash was nothing shy of a miracle. Somehow she remained on her feet and barely lost a beat. She skied cleanly and aggressively over Redtail and through the finish to take the incredible win by 1.40 seconds.

“For me it was important to show my best skiing again. First run was good, but not perfect, and I had such a good lead. For me, it was important to show this again, to have the speed,” said Fenninger of her approach. “Then I made a big mistake and I thought, wow, I cannot stay in the course. And then I was fighting and going back into the course. When I came into the finish line, I couldn’t believe I won with that advantage. It’s amazing.”

With the win, Fenninger collected her second gold, and third medal overall, at these World Championships, claiming a bit of redemption over her lone bronze medal from the pressure-packed home World Championships in Schladming in 2013. She has now matched Tina Maze with two golds and a silver over the two-week event, and gave Austria its fifth gold medal and eighth overall here in Colorado.

“It was an amazing day. It was a big dream to be a world champion in GS for me,” said Fenninger. “It was very important, and that I can make it this way it’s awesome.”

Rebensburg has always been known for her GS skills but has struggled to find her form this season as she moved more towards speed events. After finishing 11th on run one, she left nothing on the hill on her second pass. Needing to make up eight-tenths of a second to land on the podium and 1.70 seconds to over-take Fenninger, Rebensburg laid down the fastest second run to move from 11th all the way up to second. Her run was reminiscent of the skiing that brought her a gold medal in GS at the 2010 Olympics and bronze last year in Sochi.

“Just an awesome day. … The first run I was struggling a bit because I skied good but I was a little bit too slow. I tried to push as hard as I can in the second run from top to bottom,” said Rebensburg. “But when I was in the finish I didn’t know that it would work out for a medal. In the end, I won silver and it’s unbelievable.”

Lindell-Vikarby, who last season finished second in the GS standings to Fenninger, has also struggled to find her form this season. But she was the defending champion on the Birds of Prey track from last season and knew the snow and course suited her style. Sitting third after run one, Lindell-Vikarby crossed the line with disappointment, barely finishing in second behind then-leader Rebensburg. It looked as if another World Championship medal opportunity was going to pass her by with two more racers still to go. But her disappointment quickly changed to excitement after Kirchgasser lost the line over Redtail and dropped into fifth, guaranteeing the Swede her first medal in a major event.

“I’m really happy. I tried seven times in world champs and three times in Olympics, so this is a big achievement. … I really like this slope, that it’s just to charge it,” said Lindell-Vikarby. “You don’t have to think so much. I’m better when it’s a little bit flatter, so I enjoyed it.”

The Americans struggled with the easy snow and course set on run one. They set out to give hometown fans a reason to cheer in run two. Lindsey Vonn, who won a bronze medal in the opening super G race, was competing in her first GS race in over two years. She appeared to brush off the rust between runs and was able to finish with the fifth fastest second run to move from 27th to 14th overall.

“It was really nice. I really risked everything, I tried to have a really clean run. First run, I feel like I skied really well but the timing wasn’t really right. I switched some things around with my skis yesterday, so today was the first real run on them,” commented Vonn “I think second run I really found the timing, and I just let it go. I’m really happy with my run. It’s nice to kind of end these championships on a positive note. I tried my best these whole champs, but not every run worked out. Like I said, it’s nice to end on a good note.”

Vonn was competing in her final event of four and was represented well with family, friends and her boyfriend, Tiger Woods, in the crowd to cheer her on.

“It’s hard with our schedules to be able to watch each other compete, and it meant a lot to me that (Tiger) was here for the super G and also for today for the GS. It’s so nice to have his support. He’s always just a good sounding board. He’s obviously an athlete himself, so it’s nice to talk to him when I feel down,” said Vonn. “I had a couple of down days this last week, so he was definitely a good support system. … He was watching my video with me last night, and he was asking a lot of questions. He really cares, and he tries very hard and it’s very sweet.”

In contrast to Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin was competing in her first event of two at the World Championships. She was considered an outside medal favorite coming into the day after starting off the season with a win in GS in Soelden and most recently finishing third in the final GS before World Championships. But her other World Cup GS results have been less consistent. Her first run of the day was a bit conservative leaving her with a deficit of 1.72 seconds, in 13th place. She attacked much more out of the start on run two and came down with an advantage of 0.64 seconds, ultimately ended up eighth.

“I think the second run was way better. I wish I could have done that both runs and have a better shot. But I’m actually pretty happy with what I improved in the second run, so there’s positives,” admitted Shiffrin. “I took a little bit of a different tactic (second run). First run I was really trying to make the most of the top of the turn and realized it was way too straight to do that and I was mostly just on my inside ski. So I tried to take it straighter and simplify it a little bit, and that helped a lot.”

Julia Mancuso will leave these World Championships without a medal for the first time since 2009 in Val d’Isere. She has won a medal in every major event (Olympics and World Championships) since the 2005 World Championships in Santa Caterina, with 2009 being the lone exception until these championships. GS has not been her strongest event the past few seasons and after finishing 29th on run one, she moved up slightly to finish 26th overall. The only other American starter, Megan McJames, finished 34th.

Maze was looking to match Lasse Kjus’ 1999 World Championship medal record with a podium finish in every event, but appeared to lack the necessary punch to compete on the easier hill. She finished within reach in fifth, 0.26 seconds off of the podium.

The women wrap up the championships on Saturday with the slalom, an event in which Shiffrin is the defending champion.

 

The Scoop

By Hank McKee

  1. Fenninger, Head/Head/Head
  2. Rebensburg, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
  3. Lindell-Vikarby, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
  4. Weirather, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  5. Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
  6. Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  7. Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  8. Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  9. Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
  10. Hector, Head/Head/Head

Women’s World Championship giant slalom, Beaver Creek, Colo., Feb. 12, 2015:

  • It is the eighth of 11 World Championship events in 2015 … the fourth for women. … It is the 49th World Championship GS. … The first held in 1950. … Tessa Worley is the defending champion. … Eva-Marie Brem leads the World Cup GS standings.  … There are 116 athletes on the start list. … Diann Roffe is the only American woman to win a World Championship GS (’85 – Bormio).
  • It is the fifth World Championship medal for Ann Fenninger, her third of this championship and her second gold. … She now owns three career gold medals in three different disciplines. … The winning margin is 1.40 seconds. … Top six are within two seconds, top 12 within three seconds.
  • It is the first career World Championship medal for Viktoria Rebensburg. … She has been as close as fifth twice previously.
  • It is the first career World Championship medal for Jessica Lindell-Vikarby. … She has been as close as sixth previously, back in 2005.
  • It is the third career World Championship result for Mikaela Shiffrin, all of them top-10 finishes. … It is the worst career finish of 13 in World Championship competition for Lindsey Vonn. … It is the first career World Championship result for Mikaela Tommy. … The fourth best of five Championship results for Marie-Michelle Gagnon. … It is the worst placing of 24 World Championship placings for Julia Mancuso. … The third worst of five title meet placings for Marie-Pier Prefontaine. … It is the first career World Championship placing for Candace Crawford. … Megan McJames tied her second best of three World Championship results. … It is the fifth World Championship placing for Sarah Schleper, her first representing Mexico.
  • Medal count: Austria five gold, two silver, one bronze; Slovenia two gold, one silver; Switzerland one gold, two bronze; U.S. one silver, two bronze; Canada two silver; Sweden two bronze; Norway one silver; Germany one silver.

 

Results

 1  7  55947 FENNINGER Anna 1989 AUT  1:08.98  1:10.18  2:19.16  0.00
 2  14  205218 REBENSBURG Viktoria 1989 GER  1:10.68  1:09.88  2:20.56  +1.40  9.86
 3  5  505632 LINDELL-VIKARBY Jessica 1984 SWE  1:09.88  1:10.77  2:20.65  +1.49  10.49
 4  8  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE  1:10.33  1:10.38  2:20.71  +1.55  10.92
 5  2  565243 MAZE Tina 1983 SLO  1:10.08  1:10.82  2:20.90  +1.74  12.25
 6  19  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT  1:09.79  1:11.12  2:20.91  +1.75  12.32
 7  6  55838 ZETTEL Kathrin 1986 AUT  1:10.70  1:10.61  2:21.31  +2.15  15.14
 8  3  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  1:10.70  1:10.93  2:21.63  +2.47  17.39
 9  1  505760 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria 1986 SWE  1:10.63  1:11.21  2:21.84  +2.68  18.87
 10  15  506399 HECTOR Sara 1992 SWE  1:10.67  1:11.29  2:21.96  +2.80  19.72
 11  18  425771 LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR  1:10.38  1:11.61  2:21.99  +2.83  19.93
 12  16  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  1:10.69  1:11.45  2:22.14  +2.98  20.99
 13  12  196928 WORLEY Tessa 1989 FRA  1:11.38  1:10.89  2:22.27  +3.11  21.90
 14  31  537544 VONN Lindsey 1984 USA  1:11.65  1:10.73  2:22.38  +3.22  22.68
 15  24  197319 BAUD Adeline 1992 FRA  1:11.37  1:11.06  2:22.43  +3.27  23.03
 16  11  296729 FANCHINI Nadia 1986 ITA  1:11.30  1:11.33  2:22.63  +3.47  24.44
 17  30  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI  1:10.97  1:11.73  2:22.70  +3.54  24.93
 18  20  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:11.52  1:11.29  2:22.81  +3.65  25.70
 19  17  515747 GISIN Dominique 1985 SUI  1:11.57  1:11.31  2:22.88  +3.72  26.20
 20  21  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA  1:11.18  1:11.77  2:22.95  +3.79  26.69
 21  28  565331 LAVTAR Katarina 1988 SLO  1:11.39  1:11.60  2:22.99  +3.83  26.97
 22  34  107532 TOMMY Mikaela 1995 CAN  1:11.54  1:11.55  2:23.09  +3.93  27.68
 23  23  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  1:11.54  1:11.63  2:23.17  +4.01  28.24
 24  25  565268 DREV Ana 1985 SLO  1:11.42  1:11.92  2:23.34  +4.18  29.44
 25  43  565360 STUHEC Ilka 1990 SLO  1:11.67  1:11.88  2:23.55  +4.39  30.92
 26  26  537545 MANCUSO Julia 1984 USA  1:11.81  1:11.98  2:23.79  +4.63  32.61
 27  22  106825 PREFONTAINE Marie-Pier 1988 CAN  1:12.63  1:11.51  2:24.14  +4.98  35.07
 28  33  306249 HASEGAWA Emi 1986 JPN  1:12.49  1:11.85  2:24.34  +5.18  36.48
 29  36  107387 CRAWFORD Candace 1994 CAN  1:12.82  1:11.63  2:24.45  +5.29  37.25
 30  49  705423 VLHOVA Petra 1995 SVK  1:12.98  1:12.71  2:25.69  +6.53  45.99
 31  39  185317 SOPPELA Merle 1991 FIN  1:12.79  1:12.93  2:25.72  +6.56  46.20
 32  41  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI  1:12.69  1:13.40  2:26.09  +6.93  48.80
 33  35  485731 ROMANOVA Anastasia 1993 RUS  1:13.57  1:12.62  2:26.19  +7.03  49.51
 34  38  538284 MCJAMES Megan 1987 USA  1:13.58  1:13.27  2:26.85  +7.69  54.15
 35  32  225525 TILLEY Alexandra 1993 GBR  1:13.61  1:13.45  2:27.06  +7.90  55.63
 36  37  45331 SMALL Greta 1995 AUS  1:13.16  1:14.22  2:27.38  +8.22  57.89
 37  42  385096 POPOVIC Leona 1997 CRO  1:13.72  1:13.85  2:27.57  +8.41  59.23
 38  51  385069 MISAK Iva 1993 CRO  1:13.85  1:13.91  2:27.76  +8.60  60.56
 38  44  435334 GASIENICA-DANIEL Maryna 1994 POL  1:14.05  1:13.71  2:27.76  +8.60  60.56
 40  63  245066 MIKLOS Edit 1988 HUN  1:14.43  1:13.47  2:27.90  +8.74  61.55
 41  67  95050 KIRKOVA Maria 1986 BUL  1:13.90  1:14.31  2:28.21  +9.05  63.73
 42  48  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB  1:13.86  1:14.57  2:28.43  +9.27  65.28
 43  45  225518 GUEST Charlotte 1993 GBR  1:15.27  1:14.47  2:29.74  +10.58  74.51
 44  56  385092 KOMSIC Andrea 1996 CRO  1:15.43  1:14.56  2:29.99  +10.83  76.27
 45  59  45216 CHRYSTAL Lavinia 1989 AUS  1:15.54  1:15.14  2:30.68  +11.52  81.13
 46  50  35156 BANCORA Salome 1993 ARG  1:14.54  1:16.41  2:30.95  +11.79  83.03
 47  52  35079 SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen 1982 ARG  1:16.26  1:15.26  2:31.52  +12.36  87.04
 47  46  115115 BARAHONA Noelle 1990 CHI  1:15.77  1:15.75  2:31.52  +12.36  87.04
 49  70  695063 MATSOTSKA Bogdana 1989 UKR  1:15.31  1:16.28  2:31.59  +12.43  87.54
 50  54  536481 SCHLEPER Sarah 1979 MEX  1:17.34  1:14.39  2:31.73  +12.57  88.52
 51  61  35177 SIMARI BIRKNER Angelica 1994 ARG  1:15.68  1:17.14  2:32.82  +13.66  96.20
 52  57  385093 TRSINSKI Sasa 1996 CRO  1:16.11  1:16.77  2:32.88  +13.72  96.62
 53  68  715123 NOVAKOVIC Zana 1985 BIH  1:16.93  1:16.06  2:32.99  +13.83  97.39
 54  62  465098 CAILL Ania Monica 1995 ROU  1:17.54  1:17.40  2:34.94  +15.78  111.13
 55  69  155727 CAPOVA Gabriela 1993 CZE  1:17.73  1:17.62  2:35.35  +16.19  114.01
 56  55  255367 VILHJALMSDOTTIR Helga Maria 1995 ISL  1:17.86  1:17.68  2:35.54  +16.38  115.35
Disqualified 1st run
 113  215019 BARANOVA Tatjana 1993 UZB
 105  315203 BULATOVIC Ivana 1994 MNE
 102  365020 ELVINGER Catherine 1995 LUX
 93  215007 GRIGOREVA Kseniya 1987 UZB
 71  555018 GASUNA Lelde 1990 LAT
Did not start 1st run
 114  135012 WU Meng-Chien 1998 TPE
 107  315201 JANKOVIC Masa 1994 SRB
 53  415205 HUDSON Piera 1996 NZL
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 115  625024 DEVI Varsha 1995 IND
 112  345098 KEIROUZ Celine 1995 LIB
 111  345095 NASSAR Lea 1995 LIB
 110  345106 HADDAD Yasma 1996 LIB
 109  625023 THAKUR Aanchal 1996 IND
 108  245073 MAROTY Monika 1997 HUN
 106  775004 PALIUTKINA Olga 1993 KGZ
 104  235277 GKOGKOU Anastasia 1995 GRE
 100  285018 BUCHLER Gitit 1993 ISR
 99  235292 SAMARINOU Maria 1996 GRE
 98  235195 KOKKINI Anastasia 1992 GRE
 97  955000 OETTL REYES Ornella 1991 PER
 96  235110 RALLI Sophia 1988 GRE
 94  959300 PELLEGRIN Elise 1991 MLT
 92  175048 MOE Lisa Christine Blunck 1996 DAN
 91  298936 MEHILLI Suela 1994 ALB
 90  115215 PFINGSTHORN Magdalena 1998 CHI
 88  715150 HALILOVIC Amira 1993 BIH
 87  555036 ABOLTINA Agnese 1996 LAT
 86  175050 BERTHELSEN Nuunu Chemnitz 1996 DAN
 85  125022 QIN Xiyue 1988 CHN
 84  695108 KNYSH Olha 1995 UKR
 83  555035 BONDARE Liene 1996 LAT
 82  255352 ASGEIRSDOTTIR Erla 1994 ISL
 80  197848 ARBEZ Tess 1997 IRE
 79  275029 BELL Florence 1996 IRE
 78  555037 GASUNA Evelina 1997 LAT
 77  65108 NELLES Mathilde 1997 BEL
 76  125021 XIA Lina 1987 CHN
 75  255357 EINARSDOTTIR Freydis Halla 1994 ISL
 72  695101 TIKUN Tetyana 1994 UKR
 66  175041 LEMGART Charlotte Techen 1993 DAN
 65  245051 BERECZ Anna 1988 HUN
 64  685018 TSIKLAURI Nino 1993 GEO
 60  175043 MOE-LANGE Yina 1993 DAN
 58  35131 GASTALDI Nicol 1990 ARG
Did not finish 2nd run
 47  185292 ROVE Kristiina 1990 FIN
 40  155699 PAULATHOVA Katerina 1993 CZE
 29  196725 BARIOZ Taina 1988 FRA
 27  299276 BASSINO Marta 1996 ITA
Did not finish 1st run
 116  315218 MANDIC Nina 1997 SRB
 103  345107 MOHBAT Natacha 1996 LIB
 101  245061 CSIMA Reka 1993 HUN
 95  785007 JANUSKEVICIUTE Ieva 1994 LTU
 89  115196 VICUNA Josefina 1996 CHI
 81  285015 KIEK Ronnie 1993 ISR
 74  715167 MERDANOVIC Sejla 1997 BIH
 73  85022 HARRISSON Maya 1992 BRA
 13  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA
 10  196793 MARMOTTAN Anemone 1988 FRA
 9  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI
 4  55898 BREM Eva-Maria 1988 AUT
Article Tags: Alpine, Top Rotator, Top Story

What do you think?

comments

Jessica Kelley
Contributor
- A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Ski Team, Kelley collected three NorAm titles, won GS silver at the 2002 World Junior Championships, and was a member of the 2007 World Championships team during her professional career. She resides in Park City, Utah, with her husband, Adam Cole.
UP NEXT
Feb 13 2015
Ligety in striking distance after GS first run
Hirscher holds a 0.18-second lead over Nani with Ligety just 0.24 seconds out.
LAST UP
Feb 12 2015
Fenninger leads after first run of GS
Austria sits 1-2 heading into second run at World Championships.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This