Super-G Sunday is last Alpine speed race in Sochi
Feb. 15, 2014
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Aksel Lund Svindal and Bode Miller get another shot at Sochi Olympic medals in Sunday's super-G, the last speed race on the Alpine schedule.
Svindal has won six of the nine super-G races over the last two World Cup seasons.
Miller finished second in his most recent super-G.
Neither was pleased with what happened in the Sochi downhill, when Norway's Svindal was fourth, and the American Miller was eighth. The three medalists in that race — Austria's Matthias Mayer, Italy's Christof Innerhofer, Norway's Kjetil Jansrud — also are worth watching Sunday, as is world champion Ted Ligety.
Here's a look at what is coming up in Alpine skiing:
NUMBERS GAME: Don't expect a medal for any late starters on another warm day, according to French men's head coach Patrice Morisod, who set the super-G course.
Aiming to take advantage of cooler morning temperatures, officials moved the start time up an hour to 10 a.m., when the forecast is for 46 degrees (8 Celsius).
By the time the top-ranked skiers, wearing bib Nos. 16-22, have come down, the snow could be too soft and slow to allow a winning run.
"From 22 on, I think nobody will go into the top five," Morisod said.
SHIFFRIN ARRIVES: Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18-year-old American who is the slalom world champion, is eyeing a couple of medals.
She said she's really looking forward to the giant slalom on Tuesday, "not just the slalom" on Friday.
And, she added, "I'm going for a medal in two events."
AMERICAN MEDALS: Four years ago, the U.S. Ski Team led the Olympics with eight Alpine medals. After five of 10 races this time, the Americans only have one medal, Julia Mancuso's bronze in the super-combined.
In 2010, the U.S. had accumulated seven medals after five races.
"We still have strong athletes. Ted, going into the next couple days, and then Mikaela being here," U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml said. "So the games aren't over yet. We're halfway through and we have some strong performers and good events coming up."
HIRSCHER's HERE: Marcel Hirscher of Austria might very well be the best ski racer around, and he hasn't even competed at these Olympics yet.
Hirscher will race Wednesday in the giant slalom, then Saturday in the slalom.
He has won the last two overall World Cup titles and leads the current standings.
And now that Mayer already won the downhill, and Austria's women won three medals, Hirscher doesn't need to worry about carrying the ski-loving nation's hopes.
"There is no pressure for him anymore," said Peter Schroecksnadel, president of the Austrian ski federation.
GAGNON GOES ON: American skier Travis Ganong will be supported course-side Sunday by his girlfriend, Canadian skier Marie-Michelle Gagnon. She is looking forward to a full second week of racing despite dislocating her left shoulder in a fall during the slalom leg of the super-combined last week.
Gagnon was happy just to start the women's super-G on Saturday, although she was one of 18 racers who failed to complete the tricky course.
"That was like a win, just to be there," Gagnon said.
She plans to race in giant slalom and slalom.