World Championship that starts in Cortina d’Ampezzo is here. The pandemic forces silence, the empty stands, to listen like never before to the friction of skis with snow and ice. And it’s weird because Austria (294 medals, including those won in the period 1948-80, when the Games and the World Cup were the same) presents a female team waiting to give surprises to increase its 132 medals. Dependence seems almost total on slalom and what they can do Katharina Liensberger the Tamara Tippler in speed. It is true that Austria always draws its nails, but the data of its present are devastating: no crystal balloons since 2016 (Eva-Maria Brem, in Gigante), zero victories in the 22 World Cup events this season, no medals in the World Cups two years ago … And, to top it all, the serious accident of Nicole Schmidhofer right after the start of the season.
The other side of the coin is Switzerland. Lara Gut, Michelle Gisin y Wendy Holdener lead a team that is looking for a gold that since 2001 has resisted them beyond the Combined test won by Holdener in the last two editions and for Gisin in the 2018 Games. The trick of Corine Suter in the descent.
The big casualty is the Italian Sofia Goggia, the queen of speed. A knee injury on a rest day leaves her without the World Cup at home.
After a few seasons in which the irregularity threatened to swallow her, the skier arrives at the World Cup like a plane in Super Gigante. He has won four of the five runs, all in a row, the last two (Garmisch). The sensations it transmits are unbeatable and the fight is generated by the Slovak Petra Vlhova. It is now his seventh World Cup since, at the age of 17, he made his debut in Val-d’Isre with two silvers. He has not touched the gold and then he only added another silver and two bronzes. For Lara it is now or never.
The world fell apart a year ago with the sudden death of his father. Now try to get back to being the dominant skier who was launching for the records of victories of Vonn y Stenmark. He has given up speed tests to focus on techniques. Since his flight he has won two events. It does not seem the best time to expand a palmars that has five world golds, including the last four in slalom … but it is Mikalela Shiffrin. Only the german Christl Cranz, under the banner of the III Reich, won five golds in the same specialty: Decline.
The leader of the General of the World Cup and the most powerful skier on the circuit. Unlike Shiffri, this season he is aiming for everything. His legs give for it. He has added speed to his mastery of techniques. The second place in the last disputed Super Giant, that of Garmicsh, makes it clear that she must be counted on regardless of the scenario in which she competes. His first gold in a World Cup came two years ago in D, at the Giant. He has four medals in four world championships; three are from 2019.
The smile of the circuit. She is at her best. If they gave her a choice, nothing would be better for the Swiss than winning the Giant. This is how she will catch up with one of her heroines as a child: Sonja Nef, which was champion in 2001 and opened a gap that no Swiss has been able to fill. Gisin appears in Cortina with soaring confidence and after having seen victory in a Giant very close. It was second, third and at Kronplatz he missed the victory due to an error in the second round after dominating the first. It is his fifth World Cup and he has a silver. As for Lara Gut, the opportunity is unique.
You have to stand up to talk about the French, Madame de las Nieves. At 31, he has been on the circuit for 15 and continues to win. Eterna Worley titled The team on January 27, after Tessa won the Kronplatz Giant. He had not won since October 2018. “I did not know that I was still capable of winning,” explained Annemasse’s. He faces his sixth World Cup. Does anyone dare to assure that they do not get their third gold, all in Gigante?
Pure heart. Milanese by birth, Fede took the General of last year by being the first when the pandemic stopped the World Cup. She may not be the first in many things, but she is indomitable, one of the skiers to beat, to always count on. He is always hungry for more. He was looking forward to running the World Cup in front of his people, but he will have to do it without an audience. Candidate for everything in the Giant and the SG.
Astonish the world with your Olympic gold at the Pyeongchang Super Giant. Sala with number 26, the podium seemed already clear for Ana Veith, Tina Weirather and Lara Gut, in that order. However, the Czech stopped the clock at 1.21.11, one hundredth less than the Austrian. Who was that girl? Well, a 22-year-old girl who combines snowboarding with alpine skiing. Count on her at speed tests, it’s no longer a surprise.
Slovenian is pure speed. A serious knee injury in 2017 put a stop to his dominance. He came back strong and with two victories in the same weekend in Val Gardena (Super Giant and Relegation). Since then, December 18-19, 2018) has not won the World Cup. But of course, the re World Cup came in 2019 and the queen of speed ended in the same hands as two years before in St. Moritz, those of the Slovenian Slovenj Gradec. Like now, it was not before the World Cup started, but …
The Giant will be raced in Cortina on Thursday, February 18, at the Olympia delle Tofane track. With Goggia injured, this is one of the tests the Italians will have their eyes on. Because Marta Bassino has shown so far this season that she is the one who best handles herself in that scenario. Winner in Solden, Curchevel and twice in the same weekend in Kranjska Gora, the Piedmontese from Cuneo will come out as the big favorite. Marta, 25, faces her fourth World Cup at the best time. So far his only medal is a bronze in the team event.
The other letter from Team USA. He has burst into the Descent with enormous force. Few counted on Jackson’s skier, but when looking for speed queen in the World Cup on February 13, her name must be taken into account. In the five Releases this season he has been third four times and fifth the other. In all of them I would have risen one position, because Sofia Goggia, injured now, won four and was second in the first Downhill of the season, that of Val d’Isre.
February 8th Combined 10.00 (SG) -13.30 (Slalom)
February 9, Supergiant, 10.30 am.
February 13th Decline 11.00 hours.
February 16th Parallel 14.00 hours.
February 17th Mixed Team Event (12:15 pm).
18th of February Giant 10.00 a.m. and 1.30 p.m.
February 20th Slalom 10.00 a.m. and 1.30 p.m.
Travis M. Andrews is a features writer for The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 2016 as a reporter for Morning Mix. He was previously a travel and culture editor for Southern Living magazine, a contributing pop culture reporter for Mashable and the Week, and a contributing editor for the Syfy blog Dvice. He also has freelanced for magazines, including Esquire, GQ and Time. He is the author of the coming book “Because He’s Jeff Goldblum,” a semi-rumination and semi-ridiculous look at the career of the enigmatic actor and an exploration of the shifting nature of fame in the 21st century, to be published in November by Plume.