Olympics: Rebensburg gets GS gold, Mancuso eighth


WHISTLER, B.C. – On a day when the layer of fog looked just as ominous as the day before, giant slalom racers reconvened in the start house to complete their Olympic race.

German racer and world juniors super G and GS champion Viktoria Rebensburg, who came into the run in sixth place with a 0.35-second deficit, walked away with the gold medal. Having just one World Cup podium under her belt coming into the Games, (second place in the most recent GS race in Cortina), the German won in a combined time of 2 minutes, 27.11 seconds.

Olympic super G silver medalist Tina Maze, who also took silver in last season’s world GS championship, has a regular collection of that color now, finishing just 0.04 seconds behind Rebensburg.

Elisabeth Goergl, who had just a 0.02 second lead going into Thursday’s second run, dropped speed at the top, got a few hundredths back in the middle, then charged the bottom where so many lost all their speed to reclaim precious tenths and her second bronze medal of these Games, 0.14 seconds back.

After Wednesday’s drama (“Save the drama for your mama” she said on Thursday morning’s Facebook post), Mancuso came out firing and dedicated her run to the late CR Johnson. She finished in the lead, held onto it for a handful of racers, but fell to eighth place when it was all said and done, with a combined time of 2 minutes, 27.66 seconds.

“I found the last hidden piece of energy in there to go lay one down,” Mancuso said after the race. “I had nothing to lose.”

Mancuso left the course of Wednesday’s first run angry at how things were conducted when she was flagged off course after Lindsey Vonn, racing before her, crashed and Mancuso had to restart. Later, when she learned about Johnson, her friend from Squaw Valley who died at age 26 Wednesday from head injuries sustained in a fall while skiing at Squaw,  Mancuso’s world suddenly took on a different perspective.

“After everything yesterday, having to do two runs, and then getting home and finding out that my friend died, I remember how much fun skiing is,” Mancuso said Thursday.

Sarah Schleper, racing in her fourth Games and standing out easily as the only racer toting a toddler around through the masses in the finish area, finished 14th in 2:28.36.

Though the weather conditions appeared the same for both runs, Schleper said warmer temperatures Thursday transformed the snow on course into the sugary soft variety, with bumps poking up underneath.

“It was softer for sure today,” she said. “I  skied it more like it was ice. I should have skied it like it was soft and gone straight at it.”

Schleper said small mistakes before the course’s two flattest sections were where she lost speed in what would have otherwise been a much faster run.

“The first interval I got totally twisted up and lost a little speed before the first flat,” she said. “Coming into this last pitch I didn’t arc a clean turn, I kind of skidded. So that slowed me down a lot, too.”

The Vail native pointed out that taking a straight line is something she’s noticed Rebensburg doing and that’s what got the German the gold  as several of giant slalom’s top guns on the World Cup – world champion Kathrin Hoelzl, Kathrin Zettel, Tanja Poutiainen – couldn’t put it together.

Rebensburg, who at 20 is the second youngest alpine skier from Germany (next to Heidi Biebl, 19, who won in 1960) to win Olympic gold and the first German woman to win in GS since Ossi Reichert in 1956, said taking risks was a key ingredient to success in the soft snow.

“If you don’t take a risk you’re not going to win anything,” she said. “It was really, really hard [as in difficult] snow. It was risky. In the end I was able to accelerate in the last part.”

Maze, who is the first Olympic alpine skier from Slovenia to win two medals, said she was prepared for the famously changing weather in Whistler.

“Since we arrived in Whistler, we have seen everything. There was snow, then rain, then a little sun … we knew the weahter was changing,” she said. “I expected it all and I tried to race as I can. Conditions were really difficult today. It’s great to race like this. I feel great with another silver medal. It’s a big success for me and my country.”

Considering the fog, the soft snow and the fact that 86 racers were on the GS start list (68 in the second run) the consent from most racers was that it was for the best that the race was split over two days, even from Goergl, who had to contemplate her first-run lead over night.

“That was no problem. It was no big deal for me,” the Austrian said of the two-day format. “I was just fighting to the finish line. I was just focused on my job … and I got a bronze medal.”

Megan McJames, racing in her first Olympic Games, ended up 32nd, starting after the top 30 flip having finished 31st in the first run.

“I could have skied better, but I did what I could today. The fog and conditions are warm, so that makes it bumpy, which is tough. You have to throw it down. The girls who did that were fast today,” McJames said. “I think it was good experience. I have my first Olympic race under my belt.”

Because Mancuso made the decision not to race in the Olympic slalom, McJames will get another experience on Friday. Vonn, who was second in the season opening slalom in Levi and Schleper, who will be gunning for a medal in her most successful discipline this season (she won two FIS slalom races in Jackson Hole a few days ago and put down a fifth in the World Cup slalom in Lienz in December) are the two racers to qualify for the U.S. slalom team . Hailey Duke, who scored slalom points in Are this season, will take the fourth spot.

Rebensburg, Mancuso and frontpage photos by GEPA

Schleper photo: Sarah Schleper and 2-year-old son Lasse check in with friends and fans after the race Thursday (SF).

- by Shauna Farnell

The SCOOP

By Hank McKee

Equipment
Women’s Olympic GS, Whistler, BC, Canada, Feb. 25, 2010

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Rebensburg, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
2 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
3 Goergl, Head/Head/Head
4 Suter, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
5 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Hoelzl, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
7 Brem, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Mancuso, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
9 Barioz, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Riesch, Head/Head/Head

Women’s Olympic Giant Slalom, Whistler, BC, Canada, Feb. 25, 2010. … It is the eighth of ten scheduled alpine Olympic races. … the fourth of five for women. … The race is held over two days with run one being completed Feb. 24. … It is the 32nd Olympic GS held.

It is the first Olympic medal for Viktoria Rebensburg and the third German Olympic medal in GS. … Markus Was Meier (’94-Lillehammer) was the most recent. … The only other German GS win was Ossi Reichert at Cortina in 1956. At 20 years, four month, 21 days she is well short of the Olympic alpine mark Laila Schou-Nilsen who won bronze at Garmisch in 1936 at age 16. … Rebensburg has never won a World Cup race but won five World Junior Championship medals, including three gold.

It is the second Olympic silver medal for Tina Maze, and the second of these Games having also won the super G Feb. 20. … Those are the only two silver medals Slovenia has ever won and the country has never claimed a gold medal in alpine racing. … Maze has not won a race this season, b
ut has been second four times, two of those at the Olympics.

It is the second bronze medal of these Olympic for Elisabeth Goergl, the other coming in downhill Feb. 17. … She has finished in the top five in three of four races. … It is the third Austrian medal of these Games, all from the women’s team.

It is the ninth Olympic finish for Julia Mancuso. … It is her third best result at these Olympics and matches her best World Cup result of the season. … It is her best GS result since December of 2008.

It is the second best of four Olympic results for Sarah Schleper. … Her third best of five GS results this season. … It is the first Olympic result for Marie-Michelle Gagnon. … Her first GS result of the season. … It is the third Olympic result of these Games for Britt Janyk… her only GS result of the season. … It is the fourth Olympic result for Shona Rubens. … her best GS result of the season. … It is the first Olympic result for Marie-Pier Prefontaine. … And her second result of the seaon after a 25th in GS at Aspen. … It is the first Olympic result for Megan McJames. … She has scored in two World Cup GS races this season.

It is the best GS result in Olympic history for Lebanon for Chirine Njeim (Rowmark).

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  2  205218 REBENSBURG Viktoria  1989  GER   1:15.47  1:11.64  2:27.11  0.00
 2  7  565243 MAZE Tina  1983  SLO   1:15.39  1:11.76  2:27.15  0.24
 3  16  55576 GOERGL Elisabeth  1981  AUT   1:15.12  1:12.13  2:27.25  0.84
 4  19  515766 SUTER Fabienne  1985  SUI   1:15.97  1:11.55  2:27.52  2.45
 5  4  55838 ZETTEL Kathrin  1986  AUT   1:15.28  1:12.25  2:27.53  2.51
 6  1  205993 HOELZL Kathrin  1984  GER   1:15.81  1:11.77  2:27.58  2.81
 7  10  55898 BREM Eva-Maria  1988  AUT   1:15.38  1:12.24  2:27.62  3.05
 8  18  537545 MANCUSO Julia  1984  USA   1:16.42  1:11.24  2:27.66  3.29
 9  8  196725 BARIOZ Taina  1988  FRA   1:15.14  1:12.65  2:27.79  4.07
 10  12  206001 RIESCH Maria  1984  GER   1:15.60  1:12.37  2:27.97  5.14
 11  26  196793 MARMOTTAN Anemone  1988  FRA   1:16.55  1:11.45  2:28.00  5.32
 12  22  196851 BERTRAND Olivia  1989  FRA   1:16.32  1:11.81  2:28.13  6.10
 13  3  185140 POUTIAINEN Tanja  1980  FIN   1:16.16  1:12.01  2:28.17  6.34
 14  23  536481 SCHLEPER Sarah  1979  USA   1:16.19  1:12.17  2:28.36  7.48
 15  15  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela  1985  AUT   1:16.26  1:12.14  2:28.40  7.72
 16  13  196928 WORLEY Tessa  1989  FRA   1:15.80  1:12.74  2:28.54  8.55
 17  5  296259 MOELGG Manuela  1983  ITA   1:15.79  1:12.87  2:28.66  9.27
 18  11  297601 BRIGNONE Federica  1990  ITA   1:17.01  1:11.67  2:28.68  9.39
 19  36  565268 DREV Ana  1985  SLO   1:17.63  1:11.20  2:28.83  10.29
 20  21  295435 GIUS Nicole  1980  ITA   1:17.16  1:11.71  2:28.87  10.53
 21  32  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele  1989  CAN   1:17.41  1:11.48  2:28.89  10.65
 22  9  505483 PAERSON Anja  1981  SWE   1:16.01  1:12.89  2:28.90  10.71
 23  14  295445 KARBON Denise  1980  ITA   1:18.22  1:11.15  2:29.37  13.52
 24  6  505760 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria  1986  SWE   1:16.28  1:13.35  2:29.63  15.07
 25  39  106022 JANYK Britt  1980  CAN   1:18.13  1:11.66  2:29.79  16.03
 26  29  505886 KLING Kajsa  1988  SWE   1:17.49  1:12.44  2:29.93  16.87
 27  24  225206 ALCOTT Chemmy  1982  GBR   1:17.53  1:12.41  2:29.94  16.93
 28  37  106666 RUBENS Shona  1986  CAN   1:17.38  1:12.87  2:30.25  18.78
 29  31  106825 PREFONTAINE Marie-Pier  1988  CAN   1:18.01  1:12.50  2:30.51  20.34
 30  43  185271 LEINONEN Sanni  1989  FIN   1:18.38  1:14.06  2:32.44  31.88
 31  25  505632 LINDELL-VIKARBY Jessica  1984  SWE   1:18.34  1:14.37  2:32.71  33.50
 32  27  538284 MCJAMES Megan  1987  USA   1:18.30  1:14.68  2:32.98  35.11
 33  41  315149 LOLOVIC Jelena  1981  SRB   1:20.03  1:14.51  2:34.54  44.45
 34  42  495318 RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina  1981  SPA   1:19.17  1:15.90  2:35.07  47.62
 35  53  705349 GANTNEROVA Jana  1989  SVK   1:20.00  1:15.73  2:35.73  51.56
 36  46  385052 PALIC Tea  1991  CRO   1:19.95  1:16.17  2:36.12  53.90
 37  38  485505 RAYANOVA Lyaysan  1989  RUS   1:20.37  1:16.58  2:36.95  58.86
 38  33  495065 RIENDA Maria Jose  1975  SPA   1:21.22  1:16.23  2:37.45  61.85
 39  49  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena  1990  SRB   1:20.04  1:17.47  2:37.51  62.21
 40  59  665009 SHKANOVA Maria  1989  BLR   1:22.18  1:18.20  2:40.38  79.38
 41  54  715123 NOVAKOVIC Zana  1985  BIH   1:22.77  1:18.02  2:40.79  81.83
 42  55  245051 BERECZ Anna  1988  HUN   1:22.29  1:18.58  2:40.87  82.31
 43  56  345018 NJEIM Chirine  1984  LIB   1:23.28  1:18.33  2:41.61  86.74
 44  69  695063 MATSOTSKA Bogdana  1989  UKR   1:23.04  1:18.94  2:41.98  88.95
 45  66  35089 SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena  1984  ARG   1:23.29  1:18.73  2:42.02  89.19
 46  52  35079 SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen  1982  ARG   1:23.60  1:18.78  2:42.38  91.34
 47  58  175043 MOE-LANGE Yina  1993  DAN   1:24.68  1:18.99  2:43.67  99.06
 48  62  35131 GASTALDI Nicol  1990  ARG   1:24.25  1:19.53  2:43.78  99.72
 49  63  325061 KIM Sun Joo  1985  KOR   1:23.88  1:20.70  2:44.58  104.50
 50  61  275009 MCGARRY Kirsten  1985  IRE   1:24.28  1:20.92  2:45.20  108.21
 51  74  555016 FIMBAUERE Liene  1989  LAT   1:25.16  1:21.77  2:46.93  118.56
 52  80  715132 KLEPIC Maja  1988  BIH   1:27.37  1:22.97  2:50.34  138.96
 53  76  235110 RALLI Sophia  1988  GRE   1:27.75  1:22.86  2:50.61  140.58
 54  72  665008 KUZMENKA Lizaveta  1987  BLR   1:24.60  1:26.29  2:50.89  142.25
 55  84  165030 PAPAMICHALOPOULOU Sophia  1990  CYP   1:28.38  1:23.48  2:51.86  148.05
 56  79  525033 DASDEMIR Tugba  1985  TUR   1:28.37  1:25.10  2:53.47  157.68
 57  77  865000 BASSANI ANTIVARI Gaia  1978  AZE   1:30.82  1:26.05  2:56.87  178.02
 58  81  215007 GRIGOREVA Kseniya  1987  UZB   1:31.59  1:25.63  2:57.22  180.12
 59  73  125021 XIA Lina  1987  CHN   1:30.41  1:28.48  2:58.89  190.11
 60  85  265006 KALHOR Marjan  1988  IRA   1:36.87  1:28.52  3:05.39  228.99
Disqualified 1st run
   67  695073 SKRYABINA Anastasiya  1985  UKR         
Did not start 2nd run
   45  385027 FLEISS Nika  1984  CRO         
   44  385032 JELUSIC Ana  1986  CRO         
   35  705287 ZUZULOVA Veronika  1984  SVK         
   20  155415 ZAHROBSKA Sarka  1985  CZE         
Did not finish 2nd run
   86  955000 OETTL REYES Ornella  1991  PER         
   70  115115 BARAHONA Noelle  1990  CHI         
   51  25096 GUTIERREZ Mireia  1988  AND         
   48  495763 JARDI Andrea  1990  SPA         
Did not finish 1st run
   83  745008 SEREBRAKIAN Ani-Matilda  1989  ARM         
   82  675019 FEDOTOVA Lyudmila  1986  KAZ         
   78  685018 TSIKLAURI Nino  1993  GEO         
   75  645000 DENZLER Cynthia  1983  COL         
   71  155047 ZAKOURILOVA Petra  1978  CZE         
   68  395010 NURMBERG Tiiu  1982  EST         
   65  95050 KIRKOVA Maria  1986  BUL         
   64  25133 JUAREZ Sofie  1991  AND         
   60  85022 HARRISSON Maya  1992  BRA         
   57  245059 DOEME Zsofia  1992  HUN         
   50  375018 COLETTI Alexandra  1983  MON         
   47  385034 FERK Matea  1987  CRO         
   40  485563 PROSTEVA Elena  1990  RUS         
   34  515849 DETTLING Andrea  1987  SUI         
   30  435210 GASIENICA DANIEL Agnieszka  1987  POL         
   28  425887 LOESETH Mona  1991  NOR         
   17  537544 VONN Lindsey  1984  USA     

Olympics: Spillane second after nordic combined jumps; Gruber leadsThe World Cup According to Grande: The Women will finish up tomorrow. Jules and Lins hit the tabloid media

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