Anna Fenninger wins Olympic gold in women’s super-G
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Anna Fenninger became the third straight Austrian woman to win the Olympic super-G, finding a smooth way through a tricky and uneven course Saturday.
The 24-year-old Fenninger finished in 1 minute, 25.52 seconds, edging Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany by 0.55 seconds. Nicole Hosp of Austria was third.
Starting 17th and wearing a leopard-themed print on her helmet, Fenninger flew along the course, hardly bothered by a track that grew more and more bumpy. She made sure the super-G title remained with Austria after Andrea Fischbacher took gold in 2010 and Michaela Dorfmeister did so at the 2006 Turin Games.
Skiers from Austria have dominated this event at the Olympics since the super-G began at the 1988 Calgary Games. The country has now won eight of a possible 24 medals.
The combination of soft snow and a tight course design by Florian Winkler of Austria had early skiers struggling to make it down. Of the opening eight racers, seven didn’t finish.
"The setting is very hard," said Italian racer Daniela Merighetti, who carried too much speed around a gate and went off the course.
Hoefl-Riesch and Hosp added to their medal totals at the Sochi Olympics. They went 1-2 in the super-combined earlier this week.
But Hoefl-Riesch may have been affected by a course worker fixing a gate as she passed through that section.
"She never said something about this issue. I think she didn’t notice," said Wolfgang Maier, the Alpine director for Germany. "This is for sure a silver medal won."
Pre-race favorites Lara Gut of Switzerland and Tina Maze of Slovenia were fourth and fifth. Julia Mancuso of the United States was eighth.
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein didn’t compete after hurting her right leg in a crash during downhill training last weekend. She inspected the course but was in too much pain to race.
Mancuso said she became hesitant after watching others struggle on the course.
"It’s magic on race day and you can’t care what everyone else is doing," Mancuso said. "I’m happy to make it to the finish."
The temperature at the start was around 45 degrees (7 degrees Celsius).
Fischbacher won super-G gold four years ago in Vancouver, while Maze captured silver and Lindsey Vonn finished with the bronze. Vonn is out of the Sochi Games after having surgery on her knee.