Petra Vlhova is Beijing's Slalom Queen
Thanks to an aggressive risky second run with the best running time, Petra Vlhova crowned herself as Olympic Champion in the Slalom discipline climbing from a disappointing 8th place in the first run to the top of the podium. It is her first Olympic medal. Vlhova made her Olympic Winter Games debut at Sochi 2014, with her best result at PyeongChang 2018, a fifth in Alpine combined. It's also Slovakia’s first Olympic medal in Alpine Skiing.
“I have never traveled to the Olympics as the top favorite. This medal means a lot to me. I used to dream of Olympic medals, now I'm standing there and I've really made it. There is an enormous amount of work behind this medal, I put so much into it - not just me, but my whole team", said Vlhova.
"Honestly, it was really difficult to be calm and focused on my skiing. But I had a lot of power from my team. They trusted me, they believed in me and they repeated to me, 'you are so strong, just ski free, enjoy and focus on your skiing, nothing else. They were always repeating this to me in between the two runs. I gave everything I had and in the end, I am Olympic champion", she added.
Silver goes to Austrian Katharina Liensberger. She finished merely +0.08 seconds behind Vlhova. The world champion improved in the second run with the second-best time moving from seventh to second place.
"It's just incredible that I was able to show it like that. Mainly because it wasn't easy during the season either. I'm super happy and just grateful for the whole team, for my family, for my grandfather, who I lost - the season is also for him and for everyone who has my back. It was very difficult today, including the conditions. Now I'm just super relieved. It's great that it worked out that way", said Liensberger.
Rounding the podium, Wendy Holdener takes to the bronze medal finishing +0.12 seconds behind the Slovakian. It's her third Olympic medal, after winning silver in Slalom, and bronze in Alpine Combined in Pyeongchang 2018.
"I wobble my way through the course. I was never relaxed. At the finish line, I thought: 'That wasn't enough.' I actually gave up my dream of a medal. I somehow felt it and then one by one a girl went behind me and I am so happy after all", said Holdener.
Leader after the first run, Lena Dürr, falls back to 4th place +0.19 off the podium.
Mikaela Shiffrin, another favorite for Olympic victory, failed in the first run and DNF. After her DNF in Giant Slalom, the 26-year-old also made a mistake in the first run and skied out after just four gates.
For minutes, the 26-year-old sat next to the piste with her head hanging, tears, and an incredulous expression, while trainers and supervisors tried to console her. "It's disappointing", Shiffrin said.
Conditions today were really challenging at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre with manmade snow and a tricky course setting set by Vlhova's coach, Mauro Pini.