Sara Hector Wins Giant Slalom Gold in Beijing
Sara Hector was super consistent and extremely aggressive at the new racecourse in the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Centre, and after setting the best time in the first run, she was able to edge Federica Brignone by 0.28 seconds.
The Swedish confirmed her favorite role in Beijing. Since Sölden's 12th place, Hector has always made it onto the podium in the Giant Slalom in the World Cup. She recorded a second and a first place in the World Cup Giant Slaloms in Courchevel, the third place in Lienz, and the first place in the last two Giant Slaloms before the Olympics in Kranjska Gora and Kronplatz. She leads the discipline ranking in the World Cup.
In Beijing, Hector crowned herself the second Swedish Olympic Champion in Giant Slalom, 30 years after Pernilla Wiberg won gold in Meribel in 1992.
"It's incredible, I've worked for it almost my whole life. I'm tired too, I haven't slept many nights. I'm sick too, I didn't eat that much", said Hector.
Federica Brignone finished in second place, earning her second Olympic medal, after winning Bronze in the Giant Slalom at Pyeongchang 2018.
“It feels great. I am thankful for today. I came here without a podium in GS. I'm getting better and better with my confidence this year. I often had one good run, but rarely two. I'm not always as strong as I am today. The snow was weird and unusual and the waiting time was long, which increased the tension. I tried to put the thought of the Olympics aside and focus on the race”, said Brignone.
Lara Gut-Behrami rounded out the Olympic podium after a consistent second run, and despite a mistake in the upper section, she was able to set the best time in the second run climbing from 8th to 3rd place. She is on the podium for the second time at the Olympic Games after winning the bronze medal in the Downhill in Sochi 2014.
Defending Giant Slalom Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin did not finish the first run after she fell on the fifth gate of the course. The first “DNF” for Shiffrin on a Giant Slalom since Kronplatz in January 2018.
Petra Vlhova, who was also one of the favorites in The Ice River racecourse at the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center, also had to accept her "failure". After the first run, the Slovak was also only in 13th place, and in the second run, she couldn't cope with the conditions either and fell back to 14th. “Honestly, I'm not satisfied, but that's the sport. I really struggled with the conditions and didn't find the rhythm in either race. Unfortunately, that's the way it is now", Vlhova said.