The Alpine team event is a different prospect to most other skiing competitions. The head to head format, men and women competing together and nation vs nation action completely changes the atmosphere in the venue. The event is far more like a football world cup than a traditional skiing competition.
Host country Sweden had identified this as one of their best chances of winning a medal, as historically they have been strong in the mixed team event. Unfortunately for the host nation they had to face one of the favourite nation’s, Switzerland, in the quarter-finals.
The atmosphere in the fan zone was truly deafening as the heated quarter-final unfolded. But the unflappable Swiss team was able to keep their heads under the immense pressure and silence the watchful crowds, narrowly beating Sweden to progress into the semi-finals.
The day’s event nearly had as many twists and turns as the slalom course itself, surprisingly both France and Norway didn’t make the semi-finals with Germany and Italy progressing through instead.
From the semi-finals favourites, Austria and Switzerland progressed to the grand final, with Germany and Italy left to fight for bronze. The drama continued in the 3rd place playoff with Germany initially winning the bout only for the medal to go to Italy after TV replays showed Linus Strasser straddled a gate!
The event setup arguably the perfect final with Alpine giants Switzerland and Austria clashing head to head. Wendy Holdener won the first round against Katharina Liensberger to put Switzerland 1-0 up. This was soon cancelled out when the superb Micheal Matt defeated Daniel Yule, making it 1-1.
With four athletes left to ski, it was Katharina Truppe who beat Switzerland’s Aline Danioth, giving Austria a 2-1 lead into the final run. For Switzerland, it was do-or-die, Ramon Zenhaeusern would have to beat Austria’s Marco Schwarz with enough of an advantage that Switzerland would win with a lower overall time.
To the joy of the Swiss fans, Zenhaeusern was able to deliver the goods, coming home in first place and securing Switzerland’s first mixed team gold. Switzerland has now won gold in each of the 11 events in the history of the Alpine skiing world championships.
- Switzerland – Aline Danioth (F), Andrea Ellenberger (F), Wendy Holdener (F), Sandro Simonet (M), Daniel Yule (M), Ramon Zenhaeusern (M)
- Austria – Franziska Gritsch (F), Katharina Liensberger (F), Katharina Truppe (F), Christian Hirschbuehl (M), Matt Michael (M), Marco Swartz (M)
- Italy – Marta Bassino (F), Irene Curtoni (F), Lara Della Mea (F), Simon Maurberger (M), Riccardo Tonetti (M), Alex Vinatzer (M)
There is a break in proceedings tomorrow but fear not, the world championships return on Thursday with the Women’s Giant Slalom. The first run is at 14:15 CET with the final at 17:45. You won’t want to miss this one!