Winter Olympics 2014: Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze share the downhill gold medal as Brit Chemmy Alcott compares her 19th-place finish to victory
Alcott claimed the result was up there with her best having fought back from a broken leg whule Gisin and Maze share the win in the women's downhill
Wednesday 12 February 2014
In a first for alpine skiing and after one of the most dramatic finishes the Winter Olympics has witnessed, the women’s downhill gold was shared after Slovenia’s Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland stopped the clock at exactly the same time.
The two women held hands and stepped on to the podium together after both flew across the finish line at the foot of the 2,713-metre course at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre in 1min 41.57sec. In all, 0.1sec covered the first three across the line, with Lara Gut, another Swiss, taking bronze.
The technology is available to record thousandths of a second – if requested ahead of an event – but the FIS, skiing’s governing body, chose not to and so the gold medal was shared.
Britain’s Chemmy Alcott, who came a creditable 19th after recovering from a broken leg six months ago, described it as an “epic” race. Gisin, who trained as a Swiss Air Force pilot, went first and set a pace that neither America’s Julia Mancuso nor Maria Höfl-Riesch, the German pre-race favourite, could come close to matching. Then came Maze, back home in Slovenia a model and pop star in between a sporting career which had already yielded two silvers at the Vancouver Games four years ago.
By now temperatures had risen to 10C and the snow in the last 100m, according to Höfl-Riesch, had softened. Maze was 0.38sec faster through the fourth time check but slowed over the bottom half. When she crossed the line, her name flashed up on top of the scoreboard and for a few tense moments Gisin was unsure as to whether she was still in the gold medal position. When the tie was confirmed, she burst into tears of relief. Her coach rubbed snow on her face to cool her down.
Oddly, it is not the first time either woman has been involved in a dead heat. Gisin has now tied two of her three major downhill victories while Maze had a three-way tie 12 years ago.
As the winners savoured their day so too did Alcott. The Briton, skiing in her fourth Games, has suffered two broken legs in the last four years. She crossed the line 1.86sec slower than the gold medallists. “After what I’ve been through, it’s amazing justice,” she said. “I know it sounds crazy to some people but 19th is a gold for me.”
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