Qualified for the World Championships in slalom
Gisin makes Swiss World Cup life complicated!
Wendy Holdener (29) fails early, Michelle Gisin (29) celebrates: The last slalom before the World Cup offers a lot – and an open Swiss question.
Difficult decisions are pending: Alpine boss Walter Reusser has to nominate the World Cup team.
Mathias Germannreporter sports
On this Sunday in Špindlerův Mlýn (Tsch) only a few things are the same as the day before. The slalom slope is still rock hard, 10,000 fans are once again creating a great atmosphere and a portion of fries still costs 60 Czech crowns – the equivalent of CHF 2.60. Otherwise almost everything is different. First to the top: Despite leading at half-time, Mikaela Shiffrin (27, USA) failed to match Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup victories. “If I’m not driving top, it’s just not enough,” she says. Lena Dürr (31) is the first German to win a slalom since Maria Höfl-Riesch ten years ago.
Shiffrin can handle it – she secures her seventh slalom ball early. Also because Wendy Holdener (29) enters a zero. After a hard drive, the Schwyz native loses her balance at a hairpin in the first run, stops and reaches the finish more than six seconds behind. “It pisses me off that it’s finished so early,” she says, disappointed. A mishap in the last race before the World Championship – Holdener would have gladly avoided that. Already on Monday in a week’s time for you in Méribel it’s all about combination gold. “I’m still in a good mood, both in Super-G and in slalom. It should be fine.”
Does one have to jump over the cliff?
The mood of Michelle Gisin (29) is completely different. With 9th place, she fulfilled the Swiss-Ski criteria at the last second (once top 7 or twice top 15) to also start in the slalom at the World Championships. “That gives me courage, that’s exactly what I needed,” says Gisin. The background: things have not always been going well for the two-time combined Olympic champion since switching to Salomon, she has had a winter full of ups and downs.
At the same time, Gisin makes a salad with her slalom qualification. Why? Easy: In addition to her, four other drivers met the selection criteria – the seeded Holdener, plus Camille Rast (24), Elena Stoffel (26) and Aline Danioth (24). Only four are allowed to start in the end.
“Yes, that’s a salad, but a nice salad,” says women’s head coach Beat Tschuor with a smile. He has to solve a luxury problem – together with Alpine boss Walter Reusser and men’s head coach Tom Stauffer. The three are allowed to field 24 athletes for the World Cup, a maximum of 14 per gender. There are countless considerations to be made. Placements, form curves, medal chances, composition in individual disciplines – everything has to be taken into account. “It is possible that we will disappoint athletes. However, I have found that acceptance is generally high when there is a precise justification,” says Reusser.