Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami won her first world Alpine skiing title after a late mistake from bronze medalist Mikaela Shiffrin may have cost the American a repeat gold in her first super-G in 382 days.
Gut-Behrami prevailed by .34 of a second over countrywoman Corinne Suter for her first world title in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, after the start of the championships was delayed by three days due to weather.
Shiffrin finished .47 behind in third to collect her eighth world championships medal, tying Lindsey Vonn for the most for an American.
Later Thursday, Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr, the most successful active male World Cup racer without a major title, picked up his first gold in the men’s super-G. More on that here.
Worlds continue Saturday with the women’s downhill.
Shiffrin looked golden at the last intermediate split, where she was .36 faster than the favorite Gut-Behrami. Soon after, Shiffrin was late on her line and had to correct to make a gate, losing considerable speed for the final six gates and 15 seconds of the course.
“That looks like a mistake someone would make who hasn’t skied a lot of super-G recently,” she said on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.
The result was primarily uplifting for Shiffrin, who had about four days of super-G training leading into worlds.
She went one full year without putting on super-G skis after her last race in the discipline in January 2020, followed by her father’s death Feb. 2, the coronavirus pandemic curtailing offseason snow opportunities and a back injury last autumn.
“I am 98% satisfied, and I’m 2% a little motivated,” said Shiffrin, who is expected to race three more times at worlds — the combined on Monday, then her Olympic gold-medal events — the giant slalom next Thursday and the slalom on Feb. 20.
Gut-Behrami, who arrived at age 17 with a pair of world silver medals in 2009, notched the biggest race victory of an undulating career. Gut-Behrami, the world’s best skier in 2016 before tearing her left knee at the 2017 Worlds, won the four most recent super-Gs on the World Cup.
She was the most successful World Cup skier (30 victories) without an Olympic or world title.
“My career should not be judged by the fact whether I won one gold medal or not,” said Gut, who earned five previous world silver or bronze medals. “Today, sure I was nervous … You can sometimes have too much pressure, but it was the first time that I knew that my life wouldn’t change if I would win or not. I didn’t ski to win the gold medal. I just skied to try to do what I can. This was the big difference if I compare this year and the previous editions.”
A Swiss won the women’s super-G for the first time since its worlds debut in 1987, when the nation also went one-two with Maria Walliser and Michela Figini.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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