19-20 January 2019
Olympia delle Tofane - Cortina d'Ampezzo

Goggia hits the jackpot! Victory in the first downhill race on Olympia

The favourite, Lindsey Vonn, and last year's winner, Lara Gut, both beaten

Cortina celebrates her new "queen" as it says farewell to Julia Mancuso, who has now retired

 

Date: 19/01/2018 from 1530
Place: Cortina d'Ampezzo

Sofia Goggia had warned everyone the day before: “I’m out to catch Vonn". And catch her she did. The 25-year-old from Bergamo, who belongs to the Italian Finance Police team, stormed to a historic victory in the first of the three competitions this weekend on Olympia delle Tofane, historic because it is the second consecutive win for the Italian champion who took top spot on the podium in the downhill last week in Bad Kleinkirchheim. But her victory in the downhill in Cortina tops them all, because it has come on Goggia’s “favourite course”. And she told everyone: the international TV stations who followed her around the finish area where she gave interviews, signed autographs for everyone who wanted them, and took photos and selfies.

A champion, in the true sense of the word, on the slopes and off, and Cortina has already crowned her the new "Queen of Olympia". After her two second places last year, this year Sofia was the fastest.

Arriving just behind the Italian athlete was Lindsey Vonn, the front-runner, who - after committing a serious error - just could not pull it off and finished second, 47 hundredths behind the winner. Third was another American, Mikaela Shiffrin, with 84 hundredths separating her from Goggia. Just outside the podium was last year’s winner, Lara Gut from Switzerland, 93 hundredths off the pace. All the top athletes were there in the front, tackling a course that was trickier than usual due to poor visibility in the initial part, which caused serious problems for the first athletes in particular.

Italy is back on top in Cortina, three years after the success of Elena Fanchini - who attended the race today and received a warm welcome from the public - and is celebrating its third consecutive win in the ladies’ competition after Federica Brignone’s victory in the Super G in Bad Kleinkirchheim: the last time this happened was in the 2007/2008 season when Denise Karbon and Chiara Costazza won the giant slalom and the slalom in Lienz, and the giant slalom in Spindleruv Mlyn. These results bring great prestige to the Italian team, coached by Matteo Guadagnini, which could not have asked for a better outcome in its first race in Italy this season.

Today also marked the farewell of the American Julia Mancuso, Olympic champion in the giant slalom in Turin 2006 and darling of the Italian public before Lindsey Vonn, always considered a bit of a "home girl" because of her Italian-sounding surname.

Julia decided that enough was enough: she celebrated her final downhill run dressed as Super Jules, a nickname and outfit she has used since 2002. As she crossed the finish line, she was applauded and hugged by her fellow team members and the whole USA team and then she took her leave of the Cortina crowd who bid a fond farewell to the "queen" of the 2007 Super G.

A great chapter in the sporting history of Olympia closed, but another all-Italian one began. Cortina is the top venue for first-class international skiing. 

The competition continues on Saturday with the second downhill race, which is scheduled to start at 10.00 am. 

This is what the top athletes had to say:

Sofia Goggia: "Today was particularly difficult, it was easy to make mistakes because you couldn’t see the terrain very well. I didn’t ski brilliantly but I’m obviously very happy with the result. I mean, I won today partly because Vonn made lots of errors, otherwise she would have beaten me again. But that’s the way this sport goes and today I want to savour this victory and the first red bib in my life. I’ve got to stay on the ball because the weekend isn’t over yet".

Lindsey Vonn: "The light wasn’t great today and I hit a small bump that almost made me fall. I have a brilliant relationship with Sofia: a couple of years ago when we were in Val d'Isère, she came and bowed down to me when I was in the leader’s corner, saying “You are my inspiration". We’ve been great friends ever since. She came to visit me at home in November and it’s awesome to have a person like her in skiing".

Mikaela Shiffrin: “I learnt so much between the first training run and today’s race and I’m thrilled to be on the podium. I hope to do even better in the days to come".

Julia Mancuso: “I’m very emotional. Ending my career here in Cortina, where I got my first World Cup podium in 2006, is very special for me. I’ve always had a special relationship with this resort. I’ve had lots of fun in my career and fun is often accompanied by success. Now is the time for me to move on. I’ll be at the Olympics, but I’ll be working on TV for NBC.”

Results DH here!

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