Today’s Giant Slalom race at the FIS World Ski Championships proved anything is possible in alpine racing and you can go all the way from Zero to Hero in a blink. Among the three medalists, only gold-medal winner Mathieu Faivre had ever earned a Giant Slalom podium in the World Cup.
Meanwhile, the man who has dominated the discipline in the past seasons, Alexis Pinturault, failed to capitalize on his 0.40-second lead in the second run, and ultimately did not finish. He had an inner ski mistake on the top of the second run, giving him the DNF.
For Mathieu Faivre, today’s gold medal was his second at these World Championships as he has emerged as the unlikely hero of the second week in Cortina, joining Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr and Swiss Lara Gut in Cortina the double-gold club. Faivre also won the Parallel race three days ago.
“I’ve had a lot of frustration in the last few years and had to fight, but now I look forward to celebrating this gold medal with my teammates”, said an emotional Faivre after the race.
"The second run was so tough. I did some mistakes and didn't know what to expect at the end. I'm a bit sad for Alexi, it would have been amazing to be both on the podium, but right now I'm gold medallist in Giant and it's incredible", Faivre added.
Luca di Aliprandini, finished in the second position +0.63 seconds behind Faivre. Before today he had never made the top three in a top-level Giant Slalom race. The medal also put an end to the Italian men’s team drought at these World Championships, as today’s silver was the first for the home men’s team in Cortina.
“So many years on the World Cup tour without a giant Slalom podium and here, at the home World Championships, it finally happened”, di Aliprandini said of his silver medal. “I can’t say that what I felt was pressure, it was more of hunger to get the medal”.
Rounding out the podium was Marco Schwarz (+0.87). Schwarz already has a gold medal from the Alpine Combined, but much like di Aliprandini, he is better known for his Slalom skills and today marked his first top-level podium finish in the Giant Slalom.
“I went into the race relaxed. Obviously, on Sunday the slalom will be the big challenge, but to go into Sunday with two medals already makes me extremely happy”, said Schwarz.