After the First Run, Mikaela Shiffrin Ahead of Her Rivals
With all the skiers having made their first runs, Mikaela Shiffrin was in strong position in the women’s giant slalom.
Shiffrin put up the second best time, 0.20 behind the unexpected Italian Manuela Moelgg. But she outskied all her main rivals for the gold medal.
“I can go harder in the second run,” Shiffrin said. “And there’s nothing to hold back in the second run.”
Shiffrin had a very strong run, especially early, but had a little bobble late and did not finish spectacularly. Still, 0.20 should be well within her range to make up on the second run, especially against a skier like Moelgg, who has never won a World Cup event.
Most important, Shiffrin had an 0.63 lead on Viktoria Rebensburg, and Tessa Worley skied poorly and was out of the running. The main threat is likely to be Federica Brignone of Italy, who sits 0.09 behind Shiffrin in third.
Shiffrin said she expected a very aggressive, hard-charging second run.
It has been a long wait for Shiffrin’s first performance of these Games thanks to wind delays. She did not seem bothered whether it came in a giant slalom or slalom. “I’ve been race ready for either for five days.”
Manuela Moelgg the Surprise Leader
The surprise early leader was Manuela Moelgg of Italy. And a surprise she was. At age 34 she has never won an Olympic or world championship gold medal, or a World Cup race. Shiffrin will be much happier to be behind her than one of her more fearsome rivals.
Mikaela Shiffrin in Second After First Run
Mikaela Shiffrin took off seventh down the mountain. Her time at the top was the best. But like several others she lost a few tenths at the bottom. Shiffrin had a little bobble late. It was a very strong run, especially early, but not a spectacular finish. She finished in 1:10.82, two tenths behind Manuela Moelgg, but ahead of every other rival. That should set her up nicely for her second run in a few hours.
“I skied well,” Shiffrin said after the run. “We’ve been waiting to race so long I think everyone had first run jitters.”
Top Competition Put Up Slow Times
Federica Brignone did better, though still behind Manuela Moelgg’s time. Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, the main threat to Mikaela Shiffrin, would be expected to put up the best time. But she too was a little slower. Shiffrin will be shooting to beat 1:10.62, but from an unexpected opponent, Manuela Moelgg.
On a Clear Day, Top Skiers Finally Ski
Mostly clear skies, almost no wind, the snow is hard and grippy (in a good way) and the course looks pristine. It’s a very “turny” course. The first of the big contenders, Tessa Worley of France, was second down the mountain. But she posted a 1:12.06, a second and a half slower than the less heralded Manuela Moelgg of Italy. Not a good start.
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