Welcome to this season’s second edition of “Gravity” where we will be looking at Lindsey Vonn’s return to action, Kjetil Jansrud’s great run of form and Hermann Maier’s spectacular crash which occurred back in 1998. But first, let’s see together what happened in the women’s World Cup Slalom.
Austria’s Nicole Hosp produced a stunning performance to claim the slalom event in Aspen on Sunday. The young sensation looked in great shape and dominated her opponents from the outset, eventually winning through after completing the course in a combined time of 1 minute, 44.9 seconds.
Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter enjoyed a relatively strong start but was unable to trouble the leader as she crossed the finish line 0.19 seconds further back with Mikaela Shiffrin having to settle for fifth place. The American, bidding to win her 10th World Cup slalom, led by 0.11 seconds after the first run but finished 1.08 behind.
Austria’s Kathrin Zettel completed the podium, giving her a major boost ahead of next week’s downhill event in Lake Louise.
Lindsey Vonn back in action
Lake Louise will play host to the women’s downhill and super-G World Cup events. America’s Lindsey Vonn, a 14-time major champion will be making her much-anticipated return after two seasons marred by knee injuries. Can she become the best skier in the world? We asked that same question to former Olympic champion Franck Piccard.
The Frenchman explained: ‘‘Lindsey Vonn is capable of making a strong comeback. She knows what needs to be done and this is a big advantage. The question now is whether or not she can fully recover and bounce back from her injury. We know how strong the Americans are but it’s a tough course. Looking back, she suffered a nasty fall so it’s no surprise she has been away for so long. I don’t know if she will be back to full fitness but I’m sure being in such a strong team will help her considerably. I think she’s lucky to be surrounded by the likes of Mikaela Shiffrin and Julia Mancuso. Her team boasts a strong competitive line-up and I’m sure this will benefit her skiing so yes I think she can make an instant impact but I doubt it will be easy.”
In the absence of the injured reigning champion Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud proved too strong for his opponents over the weekend.
The 29-year-old secured the downhill race in an impressive time of 1 minute 50.2 seconds before edging out Austria’s Matthias Mayer in the Super-G on Sunday.
Jansrud previously did a double consisting of both events in Norway earlier this season and he achieved the same feat after clocking a winning time of 1 minute 32.02 seconds.
It’s the 13th of February 1998 and Hermann Maier is looking to live up to his billing as one of the favourites going into the downhill race at the Nagano Winter Olympic Games. On a seemingly ordinary course, Maier lost his balance and was flung more than 8 metres into the air. He landed directly on his helmet and appeared for a moment to be severely injured. The Austrian, nicknamed ‘the Herminator’, not only survived the crash, but proved his toughness in the following days by taking gold in the super G and giant slalom.