Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl upset favorites Lindsey Vonn and Maria Riesch to win the super-G event at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships.
Goergl won the race at the 2,180-meter (7,150 foot) Kandahar slope in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in 1 minute 23.82 seconds on the first day of competition. Goergl finished 0.05 second ahead of Julia Mancuso of the U.S., and 0.21 second before Riesch of Germany.
“I felt very well from the start,” Goergl said in a televised interview after the race. “I had a good feeling, and I knew I had made very few errors.”
Vonn, the defending super-G world champion, finished 0.84 second behind Goergl in seventh place.
The race had started amid controversy after Olympic downhill champion Vonn called the Kandahar run “way too icy and downright unsafe” on her Facebook page yesterday. Organizers have been struggling with a lack of snow as well as freezing weather at night and mild conditions during the day, making the track hard and icy.
The super-G, or super giant slalom, combines the speed of the downhill with the more frequent turns seen in the giant slalom.
It was the first world championship title for Goergl, who turns 30 next week. The Austrian’s best result at the championships before today had been a bronze medal in the super-combined event when the event was held in Val d’Isere, France, in 2009.
Mancuso took her second world championship silver medal. A double silver medalist at the Vancouver Winter Games, she was also second in the super-combined at the 2007 world championships in Are, Sweden.
“I seem to be the queen of the silver, but I’ll take it,” Mancuso said in a televised post-race interview. “It was difficult and I was more nervous at the start.”
Vonn of the U.S. didn’t have a good preparation for today’s race. The winner of three super-G world cup races this season sustained a minor concussion after falling on her head in a training crash in Austria last week, which led to her pulling out of a World Cup slalom race in Arber-Zwiesel, Germany, four days ago. Vonn will defend her downhill world title on Feb. 13. The world championships end Feb. 20 with the men’s slalom.
“It was a tough battle,” Riesch, who grew up close to the Kandahar slope, said in a post-race interview. “It was very rough and bumpy, but if you stay committed and concentrated, you can have a good result.”
Andrea Fischbacher of Austria, the Olympic super-G champion, crashed as she struggled to make a turn. After losing both skis, she slid down the glazed surface for dozens of meters before safety nets ended her fall. Fischbacher was one of 10 racers who didn’t make the finish. Forty-nine women started.
The world championships continue tomorrow with the men’s super-G.