The slopes above Sochi were soft and wet Tuesday, but that did not stop Tina Maze from taking her second gold medal of the 2014 Olympics. After beating Austrian Anna Fenninger by 0.07 seconds in the giant slalom, Maze dove down into the snow and pretended to breaststroke through the wet snow, clearly enjoying the wet conditions in Sochi.
“Didn’t you feel like in [a] swimming pool? We are all wet, so I said, Why not?” Maze explained in a post match interview. “It’s been a great day for me,” she added.
The winner of the gold at Vancouver in that event was Viktoria Rebensburg, of Germany, who finished third this year, 0.27 seconds behind Maze. Mikaela Shiffrin, the American teen super star, finished in fifth place in her debut at the Olympics, she was 0.23 seconds behind Rebensberg for the Bronze Medal.
After the race Shffrin said that at the next Olympics there is no way that she will be coming in fifth place. Her chances at medaling this Olympics are far from over however, as many believe her to be the favorite in the slalom on Friday
Miza finished the event with a two run time of two minutes, 36.87 seconds giving her her second gold medal, the first one coming in the downhill last weekend, which also saw sunny conditions. Maze, who was in the lead by 0.52 seconds, is 30 years old and one of the most popular figures in her home country of Slovenia.
Maze said that is was not an “easy day” to be a skier after the race. She said that the weather was playing games with the skiers, but also added that she did not mind the conditions, that the slope was in good shape and it was “possible to ski well.”
Maria Hoefl-Riesch, the winner of the super-combined and the silver medalist n the super-G, did not participate in the giant slalom because she had been having breathing problems as a part of a cold and considers this even to be her weakest.
The giant slalom was the final event for American Julia Macuso, who won this very race at the 2006 Turin games. She Tweeted after the race, “That’s a wrap for me here in Sochi. It’s been inspiring! Thanks for all the support and Love! #GoUSA!!! Now I get to celebrate my Bronze!!!” Mancuso’s bronze was won in the super-combined.
From a women’s skiing perspective, Tina Maze has been the most impressive competitor thus far. She has two gold medals, and was only 0.10 seconds away from a bronze in the super-combined and finished fifth in the super-G. Anna Fenninger is on her heels however, adding this silver medal to the gold medal she won at the super-G.
Maze’s success comes as a sigh of relief for her and her home country. She was only able to win one World Cup race this season, after a record-setting season in 2013. There has been a lot of controversy already over the effects of the warm weather at Sochi, in the women’s giant slalom the conditions were no problem for Tina Maze, who skied through the slush on her way to a second gold medal.
By Nick Manai
Minneapolis Star Tribune
The Wichita Eagle