Host City: Sochi, Russia
Venue(s): Rosa Khutor Alpine Center, Krasnaya Polyana
Date Started: February 12, 2014
Date Finished: February 12, 2014
|Gold:|| Tina Maze
The downhill, the second Alpine skiing event for women in Sochi, was held as scheduled two days after the Super Combined and was raced on the same piste located in the [Rosa Khutor Alpine Center]. Bernhard Russi created the course with heavy turns and high jumps and a lot of interesting sectors like "Launch Pad", "Devil's Spine", "Bolchoi Traverse", or "Solitary Jump". The ongoing World Cup season had produced five different winners with Lara Gut (Beaver Creek), Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden (Val d'Isère), Elisabeth Görgl (Zauchensee), and Tina Maze (Cortina) all topping the results once, while only Maria Höfl-Riesch won three races, at Lake Louise (twice) and the first edition in Cortina. This saw Höfl-Riesch in the lead of the current downhill standings followed by Tina Weirather, Kaufmann-Abderhalden, and Anna Fenninger. In 2012 a World Cup downhill was held as a pre-Olympic event which was also topped by Höfl-Riesch in front of Görgl (the 2011 World champion), and Lindsey Vonn.
But the 2010 gold medalist Vonn, who had won the last six downhill World Cups, missed the Games after tearing her right ACL twice in 2013. Also not able to compete in Sochi was reigning 2013 World champion Marion Rolland who tore her right ACL during summer training in Chile, and missed the entire season. Bad luck also haunted Tina Weirather when a crash in the last training run left her out of the race with a shin contusion. The four training sessions were dominated by Fenninger, Suter, Gisin, and Hosp respectively, while 2010 silver medalist Julia Mancuso won the downhill part of the Super Combined.
The first skier down, Fabienne Suter (SUI) set a challenging time of 1:41.94, a lead she held until her compatriot Dominique Gisin (SUI), starting eighth, improved on this with 1:41.57. This was followed immediately by Daniela Merighetti (ITA), who finished 0.27 seconds behind, which would eventually leave her in fourth place. Mancuso, apart from the initial stages on the course, was off the pace and finished eighth. Starting 18th, Gut then had a good run, but unfortunately for her was 0.1 seconds behind Gisin. Starting two skiers later with bib number 20, Höfl-Riesch was unable to challenge the top times, placing 13th. Remarkably, starting next, Tina Maze (SLO) who had not had a good season, posted exactly the same time as Gisin, so for the first time ever in an Olympic Alpine skiing event, there was a tie for the gold medal. Maze also won the first ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics for Slovenia. The last racer who was able to come close to the medals was Lotte Sejersted (NOR), who was in third position at the last interval, and finally finished sixth.
Maze and Gisin won the race with an average speed of 96.16 km/hr and 2.67 metres ahead of Gut. A surprise of the event was the performance of 7th-placed Hungarian Edit Miklós from a nation with little tradition in skiing and having a best finish of 12th on the World Cup circuit. This was also the first ever top ten finish for a Hungarian Alpine skier at the Olympics. Seven different nations placed in the top nine with only Switzerland having three athletes in the top five. Five different skiing manufacturers placed in the top six with only Stöckli with two skiiers – Maze in first and Suter in fifth. Gisin won the sole medal at this Games for Dynastar, while Gut won bronze using Rossignol.
|8||Julia Mancuso||29||United States||USA||1:42.56|
|11||Laurenne Ross||25||United States||USA||1:42.68|
|17||Stacey Cook||29||United States||USA||1:43.05|
|19||Chemmy Alcott||31||Great Britain||GBR||1:43.43|
|21||Klára Křížová||24||Czech Republic||CZE||1:43.47|
|26||Jacqueline Wiles||21||United States||USA||1:44.35|
|32||Macarena Simari Birkner||29||Argentina||ARG||1:46.44|