Adding drama, Fenninger prevails in GS
BEAVER CREEK — And for the slightest instant, most of Austria had a heart attack.
Starting with a 1.7-second lead, Anna Fenninger seemed only to need to get down in one piece for gold in Thursday’s giant slalom at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. As is her want, she skied aggressively, building her lead before nearly falling on Harrier, the second-to-last steep of the course before rebounding to secure Austria’s fifth gold medal of the Championships.
And everyone in the Alpine Republic recovered and resumed normal cardiac and pulmonary functions.
Fenninger captured her third medal of Worlds, having already earned gold in super-G and silver in downhill. She also finished fourth in the combined, so she’s nearly at four.
Viktoria Rebensburg gave Germany its first medal of the 2015 Worlds with silver, finishing 1.40 seconds behind Fenninger. That is surprisingly Rebensburg’s first Worlds medal, despite a distinguished career, which includes 10 World Cup wins and Olympic gold in GS back in 2010.
Sweden’s Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, the winner at the only previous women’s GS held here in 2013, punched in at bronze for her first Worlds medal.
Liechtenstein’s Tin Weirather was fourth, followed by Slovenia’s Tina Maze. That means that Norway’s Lasse Kjus will remain the only racer to medal in all five individual events. He did so in 1999. Maze was 3-for-3 entering Thursday’s GS.
American medal chances were sunk by bad first runs. Mikaela Shiffrin was 1.72 seconds off the pace and tied for 12th after the first run, also won by Fenninger, while Lindsey Vonn was 27th, 2.67 seconds back. Both bounced back with superb second runs. Shiffrin landed in eighth and Vonn jetted to 14th.
The Championships continue on Friday with men’s giant slalom at 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.