The weather was miserable and it turned out to be a rather miserable day overall for U.S. Alpine skiers Tuesday at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Tina Maze of Slovenia dashed through the clouds and even rain to capture her second gold medal of the Sochi Olympics on Tuesday. Maze edged out silver medalist, Anna Fenninger of Austria to win the women’s giant slalom.
Mancuso doesn’t finish; Shiffrin takes 5th
It was the last Olympic event for Julia Mancuso of Lake Tahoe and the first for U.S. teen Mikaela Shiffrin. And neither one fared well. A favorite to medal, the 18-year-old Shiffrin finished a disappointing fifth and Mancuso didn’t finish.
A Squaw Valley ski resort skier, Mancuso was the giant slalom champion at the 2006 Turin Olympics. Her lone medal at the Sochi Olympics was a bronze in her first event, super combined.
Mancuso skied out midway down the last slope in her final event and later had this message on Twitter.
“That’s a wrap for me here in Sochi. It’s been inspiring! Thanks for all the support and Love! #GoUSA!!! Now I get to celebrate my Bronze!!!”
Shiffrin was fifth after the first leg, and briefly looked in contention for a medal after her second run, but ended up in that same fifth spot.
Poor conditions for giant slalom
The weather was difficult throughout the day. Snow and sleet delayed the second run for nearly 15 minutes from its scheduled start, but it did slow to more of a drizzle when the medal contenders raced.
The first run was completed in the morning despite persistent rain on lower sections and the first snowfall at the Sochi Olympics higher up. Course workers scattered salt to firm the snow surface, which was already softened by days of sunshine.
Maze was involved in the first Alpine skiing tie at the Olympics in the downhill, clocking exactly the same time as Swiss Dominique Gisin, and she was only 0.07 seconds away from a repeat despite building a half-second lead in the first run.
Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg, the giant slalom champion in Vancouver four years ago, produced a great second run through driving snow and fog to snatch the bronze behind Fenninger, who won the super-G gold at the weekend.
Having carved out a 0.52-second advantage in the first run Maze was clear favorite for victory when the second run began after a short delay due to a snowstorm at the top of the hill.
After disappointment in the opening super combined race at Rosa Khutor, when she missed a medal, all-rounder Maze has gone from strength to strength.
“I feel really wet but I feel great to win my second gold,” Maze said. “It’s what I came here to do. I’m very proud and I think I will realize what I've done years later. Right now it’s just go with the flow and not get too emotional.”