Run of tears: only Shiffrin beaming with joy
The young American takes the lead in the Slalom at Ofterschwang after the first run - Maria Höfl-Riesch skies out
The duel for the little crystal globe is getting more and more intense. After the first run in the Slalom World Cup at the Ofterschwanger Horn, the current Slalom World Cup Champion, Mikaela Shiffrin (54.45 seconds) holds a narrow lead of 0.10 seconds over Slovenian Tina Maze (54.55 seconds), her fiercest opponent in the Slalom standings. Wendy Holdner from Switzerland ended in 3rd place (55.32 seconds), 0.87 seconds off the pace and lying in waiting.
The best German racer after the first run is Christina Geiger (57.27 seconds), who finished 19th. The girl from Oberstdorf, however, is already 2.42 seconds off the pace in this race at home.
The Slalom at Ofterschwang came to an untimely end for Maria Höfl-Riesch. She straddled a gate at the steep pitch and skied out. But she wasn't the only one: Numerous athletes were defeated by the demanding course. Many of them were very disappointed, some of them even close to tears. Also runner-up World Cup Champion Michaela Kirchgasser, French Sandrine Aubert (Slalom winner at the Ofterschwanger Horn in 2009) or the Czech racer Sarka Zahrobska didn't make it to the finish line.
For Fanny Chmelar, it was the last race of her career. The 27-year-old was disgruntled about the fact that she wasn't nominated for the World Championship in Schladming, whereupon she announced her resignation from active racing. In Ofterschwang, however, she was in a cheerful mood, wedeled to the finish, where she made a round of honour and said: "My goal for today was making it to the finish and having fun." It wasn't enough for the second run as she came in 49th and didn#t qualify.
Quotes after the first run
Maria Höfl-Riesch (Germany, DNF): "I tried to ski very aggressively. This is the only way to ski a slalom. Of course, I wanted to get a good result to the finish line, as I have skied out quite a lot of times recently. Straddling a gate just happens so easily. I wouldn't attribute this to Ofterschwang, though. I was doing quite good. So, the problems are not fundamental."
Nicole Hosp (Austria, 9th): "I got caught up with my inner edges at the roll. The slope is great at the top, but in the lower part you can no longer ski the line, but have to make long-sweeping turns. But I must say, given the spring-like temperatures, the conditions are really good."
Christina Geiger (Germany, 19th): "At the top, until you get to the second intermediary time, the slope is great. Further down in the steep section, it gets really hard to ski, because of the rather deep troughs. I'm always excited about skiing at home. I must say that I'm always a little more nervous than usual if there are family and friends standing in the finish. The conditions are not exactly perfect for me, but I'll try to get a few places ahead in the second run. I don't have anything to lose."
Text: Stephan Schöttl, Media Team Ofterschwang
Photo: Thomas Weiß, Ofterschwang Media Team