Welcome to the first Gravity of 2015 our weekly sports magazine dedicated to winter sports.
There was just the one event this Sunday the Women’s World Cup Slalom at Zagreb where Mikaela Shiffrin was crowned “Snow Queen” for the second time in two years on the slopes in Croatia.
The 19-year-old clocked the fastest times on both runs and was in a class of her own for this her second World Cup victory of the season. The winning margin an incredible 1.68 seconds.
“It was really icy and I love that kind of surface, my skis were holding up amazing. I am really glad to be back in Zagreb,” she said after crossing the line.
Austrian Kathrin Zettel finished second for a third time in her career in Croatia. She is fourth in the overall standings. Conditions were tough, 25 racers in the first run didn’t make it through the finish line and a further eight in the second run.
Nina Loseth was third her first career podium finish when she came in 2.79 seconds behind Shiffrin. The Norwegian, who earned her first top ten finish back in 2006 has struggled to find consistency. “Things finally clicked today and the hard work has paid off, “ she said.
Following that women’s slalom it’s the turn of the men on Tuesday also in Zagreb but still without Bode Miller. After surgery on his back in November the veteran American hopes to return for the “classics” in January: Wengen, Kitzbuhel and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. But what are his ambitions? That’s a question for our expert Franck Piccard.
“Bode is perfectly capable of moments of brilliance. Everyone knows that and on some courses he is the best in the world. But he has always lacked consistency that’s been his problem throughout his career. He gets himself into these impossible situations during a run. You would think he does it deliberately as that will spur him on to go faster.
‘It’s a little game which works sometimes and he is able to come back and win a stage of the World Cup. But overall it is unlikely. What age is he – 37, 39? I’ve been there and I retired when I was 36 years old. His goal at this point is not to win the overall title but occasionally to mark his presence with a good run in a competition.”
Let’s go back to February 18th 1992 to Val d’Isere. It was then Alberto Tomba completed the unique feat in the history of skiing when he retained his Olympic title. On the ‘Face de Bellevarde’ slope the Italian flag was unfurled in front of Marc Giradelli and Kjethil Andre Aamont. Tomba was a specialist in technical events and amassed over 50 victories in the World Cup series. The ‘Bomba’, who never hid his penchant for parties and women went on to take silver in the slalom which sparked the comment, “it’s not the Albertville Games but the Albertoville Games.”
We return to the present now and ski jumping. The third stage of the four hills tournament was held at Innsbruck where Richard Freitag made his mark.
The German was the man of the moment in what was a record setting competition in Innsbruck. Going second to last on his final jump Freitag put in a perfect performance to achieve a jump of 132 metres which left him on 278.5 points.
His nearest rival and overall leader Stefan Kraft was second with 273.5 points which leaves him perfectly placed for the fourth and final leg on Tuesday.
Don’t forget to join us again next Sunday for more news from the slopes.