Downhill Skiing World Championships in Méribel (France), women – slalom, February 18, 2023. Canadian Laurence St. Germain.
Méribel (France) – Canadian skier Laurence St-Germain sensationally became world champion in slalom in Méribel. The biggest favorite Mikaela Shiffrin from the USA was leading after the first round, but had to settle for silver after an unsuccessful second run. The bronze medal was won by German Lena Dürrová.
Photogallery: WC in downhill skiing 2023
Today, the 28-year-old St-Germain achieved not only her first victory in her career, but also her first podium finish among the elite. Her slalom maximum in the World Cup is sixth place, three weeks ago she was seventh in the general at the WC in Špindlerův Mlýn. Four-time slalom champion Shiffrin finished second with a distance of 57 hundredths, the winner from Špindlerův Mlýna Dürrová was 69 hundredths behind.
The peak of the season did not come to Czech slalom number one Martina Dubovská, who was struggling with illness in the past few days. “She was laid up for the last three days, she couldn't train at all,” national team head coach Jan Fiedler revealed in a recording for the media. The 17th woman in the SP rating tried the first round, but only finished 39th in it. “As she herself commented, she couldn't move her legs at all, and her legs were wooden from the middle,” explained Fiedler. Dubovská did not start the second round. “She took her temperature and found out she had a fever,” the coach said. Adriana Jelínková and Elese Sommerová did not finish the second round, Celine Sommerová already the first.
“I really didn't expect this, it's unbelievable,” said St-Germain, who is the first Canadian slalom world champion in 63 years. Her predecessor, Anne Heggtveit, won the slalom in 1960 in Squaw Valley at the Winter Olympics, which at the time also counted as the World Championships. “I was attacking, I made a small mistake, so I thought to myself, go, go, go. And it worked out, I would say. I didn't know where I should stand on the podium in second place, but I ended up in the middle,” she rejoiced St-Germain.
The Quebec native won an unexpected medal already in the first round, in which she finished third behind Shiffrin and Wendy Holdener. The Swiss rode excellently in the second round as well and it seemed that she would at least keep the second position, but in the final part she was unable to clear one of the gates and was eliminated.
The star Shiffrin started the second round with a significant lead of 61 hundredths over St – Germain. However, she lost a large part of this “cushion” even before the first intermediate time and ended up finishing in 29th time. The most successful skier in the history of the World Cup thus did not follow up on Thursday's victory in the giant slalom, but she won her 14th medal from the World Cup. Only the German star of the 1930s, Christl Cranz, has more (15).
“I enjoyed it. I'm very happy with the first round and some parts of the second round. I didn't know if after those two weeks and after what happened, I could perform at my best,” said Shiffrin, who announced her split with by longtime coach Mike Day. She started the championship with an elimination in the combined slalom, but then cheered herself up with a silver in the super-G and a triumph in the giant slalom. “At the end of two weeks, I'm a little tired, I can't go fast in slalom. I mean, of course I can go fast because I have silver, but there's someone who can do it even faster,” the American commented.
At the same time, Shiffrin won a medal in slalom already at the sixth consecutive World Championships. After four triumphs in the years 2013-2019, she won bronze two years ago in Cortina. Reigning champion Katharina Liensberger of Austria, who is having a bad season, finished 20th today. Last year's world vice-champion Petra Vlhová from Slovakia was fifth.
The championship will culminate in the men's slalom on Sunday in Courchevel.
Results of the downhill skiing world championship in Méribel (France):
< h4>Women – slalom:
1. St-Germain (Can.) 1:43.15 (53.15+50.00), 2. Shiffrin (USA) -0.57 (52.54+51.18), 3. Dürr (Germany) – 0.69 (53.46+50.38), 4. Holtmannová (Switzerland) -0.71 (54.03+49.83), 5. Vlhová (SR) -0.85 (53.53+50 .47), 6. Daniothová (Switzerland) -0.97 (53.99+50.13), …Dubovská did not enter the 2nd round, Jelínková and E. Sommerová did not finish the 2nd round, C. Sommerová (all Czech Republic) did not finish the 1st round.