Austrians get their gold; U.S. out in second round of Team Event
If the World Championships team competition is a trivial event, no one told the Austrian fans in Schladming.
Held on the final pitch of the men's race hill, teams of four go head to head on the dual parallel slalom, earning one point for each victory. In the case of a 2-2 tie, the fastest time of the eight racers determines the winner.
The Austrians fielded a competitive collection of skiers, led by Marcel Hirscher and including Marcel Mathis, Carmen Thalmann and Michaela Kirchgasser, who delivered the host nation with it's first gold medal of these championships.
In the finals versus Sweden, the Austrians had four runs to get it done, but they only needed three as Kirchgasser blew past Maria Pietilae-Holmer to secure the gold.
The American squad wad made up by Tim Jitloff and David Chodounsky for the men and downhillers Laurenne Ross and Stacey Cook on the women's side. Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shiffrin and Resi Stiegler (who was injured in this event at the World Cup finals last season) opted to sit this one out and prepare for the tech events later in the week.
The U.S. was able to squeak past Liechtenstein in the first round, but was knocked out by Sweden in the second.
"Moscow [earlier this season] was my first time in an event like this," said Chodounsky. "I've raced like this before just for fun, racing ski club when I was little back home. … I skied the best I could. We got to the quarterfinals, but couldn't quite pull it off against Sweden. They're really strong"
Certainly not a tech specialist, Laurenne Ross also gave it her best effort.
"I had tons of fun. I've never done a team event before, so it was really exciting and actually a little but nerve wracking with all of these people," said Ross. "I'm not sure how many fans are here. It feels like a billion. … The energy is really awesome in these team events. I had a really good time. I hope I can keep participating in them."
For those cheering for the left side of the pond, Canada delivered some excitement in the most competitive matchup of the evening, ultimately falling to Germany in the small final, which was determined by two photo finishes. After a couple mistakes, Erin Mielzynski charged from a deficit to overtake Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who has been on fire in these championships. But it wasn't enough as the 2-2 tie was ultimately settled by the round's fastest time belonging to Germany, which collected the bronze.
Team event, World Ski Championships, Schladming, Austria, Feb 12, 2013. ... It is the seventh of 11 total events at the championship. ... The fourth title meet team event held.
It is the third team event title won by Austria having also captured the gold in Garmisch 2011 and Are 2007.
It is the third team event medal and second silver medal for Sweden.
It is the second team event medal for Germany, the previous a gold medal at Bormio in 2005.
USA - 3 - (gold, gold, bronze)
FRA - 3 - (gold, silver, bronze)
AUT - 3 - (gold, bronze, bronze)
GER - 3 - (gold, bronze, bronze)
SLO - 2 - (gold, silver)
NOR - 2 - (gold, bronze)
CRO - 1 - (silver)
SUI - 1 - (silver)
SWE - 1 - (silver)