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Alpine Skiing at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games:

Women's Downhill

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Host City: Nagano, Japan
Venue(s): Happo'one, Hakuba
Date Started: February 16, 1998
Date Finished: February 16, 1998

Gold: GER Katja Seizinger
Silver: SWE Pernilla Wiberg
Bronze: FRA Florence Masnada

Summary

As with the men’s downhill, the women’s downhill was delayed by weather, rain and fog causing the start to be moved from 14 February to 16 February. Katja Seizinger was the defending champion and was probably still the best female speed skiier in the world. Since Lillehammer she had won the 1996 World Cup in both overall and super-G and she was leading the 1997-98 downhill World Cup. But she had competition. Two Americans, Picabo Street in 1996 and Hilary Lindh in 1997, had won the last two World Championship downhills. Street was World Cup champion in 1995 and 1996, and Austrian Renate Götschl won the 1997 World Cup. But Street had been badly injured in December 1996, breaking her femur and tearing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a fall, and had only been skiing competitively for two months at the time of Nagano. Also expected to challenge was Sweden’s Pernilla Wiberg, who was better known for her technical skills, but was a good all-rounder and the 1997 overall World Cup champion. Of the challengers, Seizinger was first down the mountain, and her time of 1:28.89 would hold up, making her the first skier to win two Olympic downhill golds. Wiberg placed second while the bronze went to France’s Florence Masnada. Street finished sixth while Götschl would not finish.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Katja Seizinger 25 Germany GER Gold 1:29.89
2 Pernilla Wiberg 27 Sweden SWE Silver 1:29.18
3 Florence Masnada 29 France FRA Bronze 1:29.37
4 Mélanie Suchet 21 France FRA 1:29.48
5 Svetlana Gladysheva 26 Russia RUS 1:29.50
6 Picabo Street 26 United States USA 1:29.54
7 Régine Cavagnoud 27 France FRA 1:29.72
8 Alexandra Meissnitzer 24 Austria AUT 1:29.84
9T Katrin Gutensohn 31 Germany GER 1:29.96
9T Hilde Gerg 22 Germany GER 1:29.96
11 Ingeborg Helen Marken 23 Norway NOR 1:30.19
12 Heidi Zurbriggen 30 Switzerland SUI 1:30.25
13 Varvara Zelenskaya 25 Russia RUS 1:30.38
14 Carole Montillet-Carles 24 France FRA 1:30.65
15 Steffi Schuster 28 Austria AUT 1:30.73
16 Trude Gimle 23 Norway NOR 1:30.87
17 Jonna Mendes 18 United States USA 1:30.89
18 Michaela Dorfmeister 24 Austria AUT 1:31.17
19 Kate Pace-Lindsay 28 Canada CAN 1:31.30
20 Bibiana Perez 27 Italy ITA 1:31.43
21 Alessandra Merlin 22 Italy ITA 1:31.44
22T Catherine Borghi 21 Switzerland SUI 1:31.45
22T Mélanie Turgeon 21 Canada CAN 1:31.45
24 Špela Bračun 20 Slovenia SLO 1:31.54
25 Janica Kostelić 16 Croatia CRO 1:31.97
26T Morena Gallizio 24 Italy ITA 1:32.22
26T Katie Monahan 25 United States USA 1:32.22
28 Kirsten Clark 20 United States USA 1:32.25
29 Yekaterina Nesterenko 21 Russia RUS 1:32.54
30 Corinne Rey-Bellet 25 Switzerland SUI 1:32.92
31 Lucie Hrstková 16 Czech Republic CZE 1:33.00
32 Anna Larionova 22 Russia RUS 1:34.36
33 Yuliya Kharkivska 21 Ukraine UKR 1:35.60
34 Carola Calello 20 Argentina ARG 1:36.71
AC Renate Götschl 22 Austria AUT DNF
AC Isolde Kostner 22 Italy ITA DNF
AC Regina Häusl 24 Germany GER DNF
AC Kristine Kristiansen 22 Norway NOR DNF
AC Mónika Kovács 21 Hungary HUN [1:37.03] DQ