It started off in strange circumstances as seven of the first eight racers failed to reach the finish. Conditions were tough, hard and gnarly but this is what makes the Super G one of the most exciting disciplines: One inspection and no training run: This is … high concentration racing. Anna Fenninger skied the top section smoothly, not the fastest but smooth, powered across the flats and had enough in the tank to survive hitting a gate hard to cross the line in the lead, pushing her compatriot Niki Hosp down to second. Maria Hoefl-Riesch also made a huge mistake on the run into the finish but used her power to push Hosp down to third.
The course was set by Austrian Florian Winkler and while the course was the same for all racers, those racers running at the front of the course certainly had to be more on their game. From the first five gates on the steep section that gave the racer no room for manoeuvre if that strayed onto their inside ski, this was an area that the race would not be won but could certainly be lost. After the flat sections and some open turns, the racers needed to be on their game when they came over the jump leading to the finish: Go too direct, like most of the Italian team and your race was over as you would miss the gate after the jump or would have to jam on the breaks to make the following few gates. This was a fascinating course that required Â complete concentration from the racer.
No racer made a complete error free run: Fenninger was smooth and fast at the top yet clatterd a gate hard just after the jump; Hoefl-Riesch almost succombed at the same gate after the jump yet used all her strength and power to carry on through the final few gates. Hosp had been smooth but little mistakes allowed Fenninger to steal the Gold from her.
One of the first racers to really attack the course and looked to be on her way to a commanding lead was Kajsa Kling. The Swedish girl has only really broken on to the World Cup this year but took her chance in the Super G and looked to be posting a super fast time before becoming one of the early racers to make a mistake coming over the jump at the finish and missed the next gate.
With no Tina Weirather, still struggling with injuries sustained in the Downhill training, this was a race that saw the racer with the least amount of mistakes take the win. Fenninger made it three wins in the Women’s Super G in the last three Olympics for Austria, following Michaela Dorfmeister and Andrea Fischbacher.
Fenninger was quick to praise the advice given to her team coach that was standing on the key point at the bottom of the course. Hoefl-riesch was delighted to have made the podium again and as for Hosp, she admitted that she took the unusual decision, for her, to watch the early runners and that this had helped her.
Chemmy Alcott placed 23rd, another to have struggled at the jump near the finish. After the race she commented:Â â€œI should have managed my expectations a bit better but I just know if I could do it again I would be a lot better.Â I saw a lot of the girls skiing pretty and round so I took some risks and they paid off until the last pitch. I just made a judgment error and had to battle down.Â You choose your own fate and that [crashing out] wasnâ€™t going to be my fate. I was going to fight down and get my best result ever, that is how I think.Â Ski racing is a brutal sport to go out on your best race ever is the golden day but I donâ€™t think that golden day happens that often.â€
Alcott felt that the course wasÂ â€œbrutal, you had ice at the top to deal with then it was gripping and then there was snow at the bottom.Â I knew that wasnâ€™t going to suit me because you havenâ€™t got any feeling on this and I havenâ€™t got any feeling anyway.â€
Picture COPYRIGHT ZOOM AGENCE