Val d’Isere: Vindication for resilient LaliveVAL D’ISERE, FRANCE – Caroline Lalive’s second-place finish, part of a historic day for U.S. women’s skiing, in Val d’Isere was a bit of vindication for the 26-year-old with dual Swiss and American citizenship. It had been nearly four seasons since Lalive reached the podium.
“My last podium was in 2002, at the Altenmarkt downhill,” said Liner. “It was right after a really disappointing Olympics, and being second there was a great kind of comeback.”
Then there was the fourth-place finish in last season’s Altenmarkt super G, which had looked like a podium so late into the race that headlines had already gone up online saying Lalive was third.
“I was third until the second-to-last girl came, Tina Maze, and she bumped me out,” said Lalive. “Today I knew I couldn’t rest until the very end.”
Alexandra Meissnitzer of Austria, who Lalive bested by one hundredth of a second, had nothing but praise for her fellow veteran.
“I think Liner had to go through a really hard time with injuries and I kind of had the same before,” said “Meissy,” who is enjoying a renaissance season. “She’s a super-nice person and if someone beats me by 0.01, I’m happy it’s Liner.”
This summer, Lalive worked on her physical conditioning, not skiing until August and trying to appreciate things. “I tried to just enjoy life outside skiing,” she said. “I’m trying not to focus too much on the Olympics, but thinking more of every race, and building up to the Olympics.
Francois Lalive, Caroline’s father, was in the finish area with his wife. He ran around excited with his American flag and Swiss accent. “She was very happy,” he said. “This is history, you know? Two Americans, one and two. Haven’t seen this for a long time. On the men’s side, maybe.”
He told a story of teaching Lalive to ski with the help of a net that he would set up on the hill for her to drift into. “All she could say was, ‘More! More!,’” he recalled. “I’d go higher and higher until it was like a missile coming down.”