Sport in the spotlight: Alpine skiing
Alpine Skiing

Sport in the spotlight: Alpine skiing

05 February 2018 / 16:30

First introduced to the Winter Olympics programme at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936, alpine skiing has featured ever since.

There are five disciplines including downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-giant slalom and combined.

For the first time, the mixed-gender alpine team event will feature at PyeonChang 2018.

Austria is the sport’s most successful nation with 114 podiums and 34 gold medals, and while Kjetil Andre Aamodt has the most medals in Olympic alpine skiing history – four gold, two silver and two bronze – only Germany’s Katja Seizinger has defended a downhill title.

Schedule

February 11

Men’s Downhill 11:00-13:05 (02:00-04:05 UK time)

February 12

Women’s Giant slalom run 1 10:15-11:55 (01:00-02:55 UK time)

Women’s Giant slalom run 2 13:45-15:35 (04:45-06:35 UK time)

February 13

Men’s Alpine combined run 1 11:30-13:10 (02:30-03:10 UK time)

Men’s Alpine combined run 2 15:00-06:25 (06:00-07:25 UK time)

February 14

Women’s Slalom run 1 10:15-11:50 (01:15-02:50 UK time)

Women’s Slalom run 2 13:45-15:25 (04:45-06:25 UK time)

February 15

Men’s Super-G 11:00-13:10 (02:00-04:10 UK time)

February 17

Women’s Super-G 11:00-12:55 (02:00-03:55 UK time)

February 18

Men’s Giant slalom run 1 10:15-12:10 (01:15-03:10 UK time)

Men’s Giant slalom run 2 13:45-15:45 (04:45-06:45 UK time)

February 21

Women’s Downhill 11:00-12:50 (02:00-03:50 UK time)

February 22

Men’s Slalom run 1 10:15-12:10 (01:15-03:10 UK time)

Men’s Slalom run 2 13:45-15:40 (04:45-06:40 UK time)

February 23

Women’s Alpine combined run 1 11:00-12:25 (02:00-03:25 UK time)

Women’s Alpine combined run 2 14:30-15:45 (05:30-06:45 UK time)

February 24

Mixed gender Alpine Team Event 11:00-12:55 (02:00-03:55 UK time)

Team GB will compete in the women’s slalom, men’s slalom and giant slalom and alpine team.

How GB have fared in the past

Team GB have never won an Olympic alpine skiing medal, though Alain Baxter did claim slalom bronze at Salt Lake City 2002.

He was later stripped of his medal, a decision he failed to overturn despite the strong support of the British Olympic Association and his national governing body.

Gina Hathorn narrowly missed out on a medal when competing for Team GB at Grenoble 1968, finishing fourth in the women’s slalom, just three hundredths of a second outside bronze.

Felicity Field’s sixth place in the women’s downhill in 1968 remains the best British performance in the discipline.

Britwatch

Charlie Guest

Charlie Guest will be making her Olympic Winter Games debut in PyeongChang, although it may never have happened after the Scot suffered a career-threatening crash on the slopes in late 2014 which left her with four broken vertebrae.

She was back on the snow a mere six weeks later and victory in the ladies slalom at the 2016 British Championships marked the culmination of an 18-month journey back to full fitness.

A skier since the age of three, she had already served notice of her talents when, aged 14, she became the first British girl to win an international children’s race.

Guest successfully defended her British slalom title in 2017, while she continued her progression at World Cup level this season to earn qualification for PyeongChang.

Dave Ryding

Dave Ryding equalled Great Britain’s best-ever World Cup finish in January 2017 when he won slalom silver in Kitzbühel – matching Konrad Bartelski’s second place in the downhill in Italy in1981.

Ryding almost made another trip to the podium in Stockholm in the parallel slalom a week later but finished an agonising fourth, just 0.06 seconds off a bronze medal.

He achieved five top-ten slalom finishes and ended the campaign ranked eighth in the world. This season Ryding has also impressed, including finishing fourth in the Oslo slalom city event last month.

Ryding competed at the Vancouver and Sochi Olympic Winter Games, finishing 17th in the slalom in Russia, and achieved his highest World Championship placing in 2017, when he came 11th.

Laurie Taylor

PyeongChang 2018 will not be the first time Laurie Taylor has pulled on the Team GB colours, having competed in the slalom and giant slalom at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Games in Brasov.

Taylor has continued to progress since then, finishing 33rd in the slalom event at last year’s Alpine World Championships in St. Moritz. This season he raced on both the Europa Cup and World Cup circuits in order to secure qualification for his maiden Games.

Alex Tilley

A regular competitor on the World Cup circuit, Alex Tilley recorded a career best result of 13th in the giant slalom in Courchevel in December - all great preparation for her Olympic Winter Games debut in PyeongChang.

The achievement continued a steady progression on the slopes for the rising star, who first strapped on a pair of skis aged eight and left school at 16 to pursue her sporting ambitions.

She has competed in the slalom and giant slalom at two senior World Championships in 2015 and 2017, with her best finish being 24th in the slalom event in Vail three years ago.

Who is the competition?

Lindsey Vonn

One of just six women to have won World Cup races in all five disciplines of alpine skiing, Vonn has won 81 World Cup races in her career and remains a giant of the sport despite recent injury problems.

The American, 33, will be competing in her fourth Olympic Games and will be desperate to add to the bronze and gold won at Vancouver 2010.

Mikaela Shiffrin

After claiming slalom gold at Sochi 2014 aged just 18, the 22-year-old American will be looking to stamp her authority on a discipline in which she has claimed three World Championship titles.

A runaway leader of the women’s overall World Cup this season – a title she also won in 2017 – Shiffrin will also be hopeful of extending her success out of the slalom arena and into the speed events.

Marcel Hirscher

A slalom and giant slalom specialist, Marcel Hirscher has won nine medals – including six gold – at the Alpine Skiing World Championships and claimed a silver in the slalom at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The Austrian will be looking to continue his country’s impressive record in the sport and go one better at PyeongChang 2018.

Beat Feuz

After finishing fourth in the World Cup downhill standings in 2017, Switzerland’s Beat Feuz gave notice of his intentions by winning a first World Championship title in the discipline last year.

And he has continued that form into this season, winning the first downhill of the season, in Lake Louise, before going on to claim victory in Wengen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen en route to what could be a first Olympic medal in PyeongChang.

Sportsbeat 2018

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