ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — The vibe on Thursday at the World Championships venue was pure bliss. Spring-like conditions in St. Moritz had everyone in a good mood, and while the temperatures made for slushy snow, salt and slip crews allowed for a fair and exciting race. Three familiar faces on the World Cup, Tessa Worley, Mikaela Shiffrin and Sofia Goggia, captured gold, silver and bronze, respectively.
Worley–the current leader in the World Cup giant slalom standings–took back her World Championship title with a combined time of 2:05.55. The French athlete was the 2013 World Champion in the same discipline. Coming into the finish, she was not sure her second run would be fast enough to take the gold.
“I wasn’t so sure because, I mean, I had 48 hundredths after the first run and it seems a lot, but it isn’t really,” she said. “It’s just short, and I did a mistake on the second run on the third gate I think, so I said ‘Maybe this mistake will cost a lot.’ I really didn’t know. I was just focused on pushing harder every other gate.”
This is the second gold medal for Worley at this World Championships. She was part of the winning squad in the Nation’s Team Event on Tuesday.
Shiffrin now has three World Championship medals to her name. Her second place in the giant slalom is her first medal in the discipline, coming after winning the 2013 and 2015 World Championship slalom races. Shiffrin, who was in third position after the first run, admitted that she was a bit tentative in the morning.
“This is the first time I’ve actually finished a GS race here,” she explained. “In the first run, I was a little bit tentative because I was thinking about that, thinking about the spot that I fell at last year and then the spot that I fell at two years before that and then when I made it past there, I was like, “Wow! I’ve never skied the bottom of this hill before!’ Definitely, I’m excited to make it to the finish and make it down strong.”
The American fought hard for the silver medal in the second run, gaining four tenths of a second in the final split.
“I was trying to push the whole time, and I didn’t feel like I was going to lose time really so much up there, but just trying to keep everything together, but really push. I didn’t really find my full rhythm until the middle and coming up more on the bottom. I just remembered my coach saying get in your tuck and go, and I felt like I did that.”
The American is the first female U.S. skier to land on the podium since Julia Mancuso earned a bronze medal in 2005, and is only the second American to win a World Championship medal in St. Moritz so far.
Coming in 0.74 seconds behind her was Goggia of Italy. This is the first World Championship medal for the Italian, who has had a frustrating World Championships until the giant slalom.
“This was my last chance at this World Champs,” Goggia said. “I didn’t have any expectation for this race because I had many on the speed side. But still getting a medal on the last day of race…I’m so happy.”
The last Italian to earn a medal in a World Championship giant slalom was Federica Brignone, who was second in the 2011 World Championship. In Thursday’s race, Brignone was fourth, her teammate Manuela Moelgg was sixth and Marta Bassino was 11th, proving once again that the Italians have arguably the strongest giant slalom team in the world right now.
The U.S. was also represented by Resi Stiegler and Megan McJames. While Stiegler did not finish the first run, McJames, an independent athlete, had a career-best World Championship result, coming in 21st place.
“So, this is my fourth World Champs,” McJames said. “Between World Championships and Olympics, in the past, I’ve gotten super overwhelmed by the atmosphere and energy. This year, I was like, ‘I’m just going to go and instead of trying to block it out, just take it all in and enjoy it.’ Today, I’m really happy because, for the first time this year, I felt like I really went for it and was aggressive and skiing the way I know I can, so I’m feeling happy.”
Marie-Michele Gagnon was the lone Canadian athlete to finish, coming in 20th place. Candace Crawford and Mikaela Tommy did not finish, and Valerie Grenier did not start second run.
World Championship racing continues on Friday, Feb. 17 with the men’s giant slalom.
View more action from the race in today’s photo gallery.
- Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
- Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Sofia Goggia (ITA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Federica Brignone (ITA) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
- Stephanie Brunner (AUT) – Head / Head / Head
- Manfred Moelgg (ITA) – Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
- Ana Drev (SLO) – Volkl / Dalbello / Marker
- Petra Vlhova (SVK) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
- Sara Hector (SWE) – Head / Head / Head
- Nina Loeseth (NOR) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.|
|14||20||197319||BAUD MUGNIER Adeline||1992||FRA||1:03.88||1:04.02||2:07.90||+2.35|
|47||74||255357||EINARSDOTTIR Freydis Halla||1994||ISL||1:07.98||1:08.40||2:16.38||+10.83|