- Oct 28, 2009
The Men's combined is happening right now and there's no thread for alpine racing events so here's a hastily thrown together OP which I may or may not update later with more info.
Alpine ski racing is the dorkiest and oldest version of skiing in the Olympics. It is the swimming of the winter games and IMO is more watchable.
There are four disciplines and five events. In order from smallest turns and most technical to longest turns and most speed they are Slalom, Giant Slalom (aka GS), Super G, Downhill. Most skiers at this level tend to be best at one range of this spectrum, or perhaps just one discipline. But the very best are competitive in them all.
The fifth event is a very creatively named Alpine Combined and is a combination of a Downhill run and an Slalom run in the same day. (This is happening right now as I'm wasting time typing this OP!)
'Murican Athletes to watch:
There are some men that are excellent skiers and Ted Ligety aka TED SHRED is still a zen master of GS but the medal contenders are the women.
You already know about her presumably. This is probably her last Olympics. Vonn is well embedded in the American pop/celebrity cultural awareness (she dated Tiger Woods for some strange reason) but she is pretty clearly the greatest American ski racer of all time and we should appreciate her talents here one last time. I mean this in an objective sense, she's won more World Cup races and overall titles than any other American. She has had really bad injury luck in Olympic years so it would be cool if she had a good week this time around. Vonn's best events have always been speed, look for her in Downhill and Super G but mostly it's all about the Downhill.
But fret not America, there is another ridiculously talented blonde women ready to become the symbol of elite achievement in The Whitest Sport...
Shiffrin's specialty is at the other end of the spectrum. She dominates slalom (and is the reigning gold medalist in that discipline) but now as a seasoned veteran at the ripe age of 22 (she snagged her first World Cup podium at 16) she is a force across the board. Shiffrin won her first World Cup Overall title last year (points across all five races over the course of the whole season), something Vonn has done an American-record 4 times. Mikaela currently holds a commanding lead on the World Cup Overall standings for this season. Look for her in slalom obviously, but she could podium in anything cause she is THE BEST. Here's a cool multimedia feature on her from the NYT that also does an excellent job of breaking down the differences between the disciplines.
edit: Here are excellent write ups of the competitors to know from Hookshot, who is our resident goon ski racer, and also follows the World Cup much more closely than I do. Broken into two categories, speed events and technical events.
The marquee event of the alpine skiing. Already been moved once because of wind, but since it should die down my bet is the real downhill will go from the top.
It's a dumb looking downhill IMO, it hasn't got a single gliding section, and the women's track is a lot better. That said, here are the favourites:
Aksel Lund Svindal -
Like 3 years ago he missed a whole season because he tore his achilles tendon playing soccer, came back, won everything, then destroyed his knee at Kitzbuhel, the hardest track on the men's circuit. Missed another season, came back this year, and immediately started winning everything again. This dude is a loving boss. Won a gold, silver and bronze medal in 2010, but I think he hosed up in Sochi and didn't win anything (I'm not looking it up but I'm 99% sure that's the case). He's the odds-on favourite to win here though, and dude is clutch. He's my pick for the win in the Fantasy Ski Racer app.
Kjetil Jansrud -
Sort of always played second fiddle to Svindal, but is seriously a threat when Svindal is out, and is legitimately a favourite in his own right. He and Svindal are besties forever. Also the defending Super G champ.
Beat Feuz - :switzerland:
Reigning world champion in DH. Looks like a potato, but I'm pretty sure the dad bod helps him get down the hill faster. Has won a few WC DH races this year.
Thomas Dressen, Germany: the first good male speed skier Germany has had in years and years. Kind of came out of nowhere this year to win Kitzbuhel (ski racing's Superbowl) and just came first in the combined DH. I've got him as my "sort of dark horse" to get silver behind Svindal in Fantasy Ski Racer.
Matthias Mayer, Austria: Defending champion. Broke his back a couple years ago, had a bit of a comeback year last year, but this year has been a threat in most races.
Hannes Reichelt, Austria: Super consistent, and super consistently good. Don't count him out. He's like a million years old.
Vincent Kriechmayer, Austria: Randomly won a couple races this year, won one of the DH training runs too. Definitely a dark horse, but a possibility.
Christof Innerhofer, Italy: Won a training run but hasn't done poo poo yet this year, really. Still, this dude is clutch, he's super Euro in the best way, and my favourite person on the men's tour. Cheer for Innerhoffer.
See bawful's writeup
I'm reasonably sure she's single-handedly responsible for her coaches' life spans being reduced by at least ten years. She is loving SENDY. She either finishes on the podium or blows out completely. Won both test events in Korea last year, but only by the slimmest of margins. This race is really Goggia vs Vonn. Her dog's name is Belle and she's a good girl.
Anna Veith: Formerly Anna Fenninger. Coming back from 2 full seasons away really. She's not really at full strength yet, but getting there.
Lara Gut, Switzerland: Tore her ACL last February during World Champs, but coming back as well. Also still not back, but like Goggia she's a fighter. If there's a place where she's going to cement her comeback, it's here. Also, she's the reigning bronze medalist (both gold medalists from Sochi have retired)
Michelle Gisin, Switzerland: tech skier who randomly became really good at speed while training for the combined. Her older sister Dominique was one of two gold medalists in this event in 2014, so she'll want to keep gold in the family.
Men's Super G:
Aksel Lund Svindal
I'd say Reichelt is more likely to win the Super G than the downhill this year. He's been really, really good in this discipline and I feel like he's won some poo poo this year.
Max Franz - Austria: He's been doing well in Super G, but can be pretty hit-or-miss.
Alexis Pinturault - France: the dark horse pick. The downhill looks so super technical, I'd bet a tech skier who's decent at speed could actually do really well, and Alexis Pinturault fits that description perfectly.
Women's Super G
Definitely a favourite in the Super G. She won a couple of Super Gs this year, her first podiums after coming back from injury, including one just before the Olympics. She's also the defending gold medalist in this event.
OH gently caress I forgot to add Tina Weirather to the Super G favourites:
Tina Weirather - Liechtenstein
Last year's crystal globe winner in Super G, she's definitely a threat. I'm picking her for gold in SG in Fantasy Ski Racer. She was injured forever, and kind of flies under the radar. Prepare for the announcers to mention her dad (Harti Weirather) a million times, even though she has long since eclipsed anything he's done. She's had such a ridiculous number of injuries (including hurting herself in a training run at Sochi and missing the races there) that I seriously hope she medals.
Lara Gut: same as before. She will come out as hard as she can, and she has the ability to absolutely lay one down.
Nicole Schmidhofer - Austria: Current world champion in this event. Consistency used to be her downfall, but she's been a lot better this year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see her on the podium.
Federica Brignone - Italy: very good technician who moved into Super G and had a ton of success last year, and a taste of it this year. She could definitely come out and put down a good performance, especially given her experience.
Ragnhild Mowinckle - Norway: The dark horse pick. She seriously upped her game this year and has been in the 3rd-7th range in tons of races this year, after being regularly around 8th-12th all of last year. Got her first ever podium a few weeks ago and is taking a ton of confidence into these games.
Men's Giant Slalom
Marcel Hirscher - Austria
The loving boss. He just is. He's won the overall crystal globe 6 times in a row, the first person to ever do that in this sport. He's a master in GS, though not quite as dominant as he is in slalom. But I think he's won all the GS races this year except one maybe? Also he broke his ankle in August and basically got no off-season training and is still slaughtering everyone left right and center. Absolutely, 100% the favourite going into this.
Alexis Pinturault -
He's been second to Hirscher a lot over the years, but has also beaten him a number of times. If anyone can get him at the Olympics, it'll be Pinturault. I think it was this year he beat the record for most wins ever by a French ski racer. There was a stretch of about 30 GS races a few years ago where every single giant slalom race there was at least one of Hirscher, Pinturault or Ligety on the podium.
Henrik Kristoffersen -
At 22, he's quite young, but has an impressive resume (youngest ever male slalom medalist at the Olympics for one, in Sochi). He's not entirely comfortable in GS, but is still a podium threat every time. Hirscher is getting to him though, he had a full-on temper tantrum in the finish after Hischer beat him for the like seventh time in a row this year. I don't think he'll win gold, but he definitely has a shot.
Ted Ligety: coming back from like two years of injury, Ted has shown flashes of brilliance, but I wouldn't call him a favourite by any stretch. Ted was also a genius on the 35m radius skis, but as of this year FIS lowered the radius for men to 30m/193cm (which is loving stupid because women are still on 30m too and I so badly want to go down to 27) and so making the skis for men easier to turn is an advantage to everyone else. I highly doubt you'll see him on the podium, let alone defending his gold.
Manuel Feller - Austria: He's either going to finish on the podium or DNF, calling it now. This guy is basically the male equivalent of Sofia Goggia; he gets loving sendy every single time down the course. He's super entertaining to watch.
Matts Olson - Sweden: He's quietly been doing ok. Nothing super remarkable, but also nothing especially bad, don't be surprised if he's in the top ranks.
Women's Giant Slalom
There are three women here who almost certainly will finish first, second and third. The only question is who will do it in what order. I honestly have no idea. In Fantasy Ski Racer I have it going Worley, Shiffrin, Rebensburg, but who knows.
Mikaela Shiffrin - USA
see bawful's writeup. She got silver at world champs last year.
Tessa Worley - France
World champion in 2013 and 2017, she tore her ACL in December before the Sochi games. She took a little while to come back, but last year took the crystal globe in GS, and the world championship title, and has a couple wins this season as well. One of very, very few giant slalom specialists on the world cup tour.
Viktoria Rebensburg - Germany
Gold medalist in this event in 2010, bronze medalist in 2014, and winner of multiple world cups this season - by big margins, too. She knows how to win at the Olympics, and she knows how to win in GS. On the top of her game in this discipline right now.
Federica Brignone: has an outside chance here as well, GS is really her discipline.
Ragnhild Mowinckle: has been creeping up the ranks in GS as well and has some good results this year, tons of confidence here as well.
That's really it. I honestly would be very surprised if it's not a Worley/Shiffrin/Rebensburg podium. They're all on top of their game in GS right now, and they're all clutch skiers.
Marcel Hirscher: he wants this gold medal so bad, and honestly, he deserves it. He is without a doubt the best slalom skier in the world right now. He is loving incredible, and when you watch him, know that you are watching one of the men who will go down in history as being the greatest ever, and the slalom is his best event. I think he's the reigning silver medalist from Sochi.
Henrik Kristoffersen: Also wants this super bad. Reigning bronze medalist from Sochi, he was the youngest ever male medalist in this event when he won that one. Hirscher vs. Kristoffersen, the Olympic version, should be amazing.
Younger brother to Mario Matt, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in this discipline who has now since retired. He's been super good this year, and I think is the biggest threat to Hirscher or Kristoffersen, the two biggest favourites.
Andre Myhrer - Sweden: The Swede has had a very good season thus far. Been on a few podiums, although Hirscher and Kristoffersen have (I think) won every slalom race this year except Levi, which Felix Neureuther won just a week or so before tearing his ACL.
Daniel Yule - Switzerland: He's had a breakout year with some top finishes and I could see him being a podium finisher for sure.
Mikaela Shiffrin - see bawful's writeup. It will be an enormous upset if she doesn't win gold here. That said, it's not like there's no one else here who knows how to slalom, Shiffrin is just that good.
Frida Hansdotter -
Has played second fiddle to Shiffrin for years, but is an excellent slalom skier in her own right. She hasn't been as consistently second as she used to be a few years ago, but is still a very strong contender for a medal.
Petra Vlhova - Slovakia
Young up-and-comer who's really burst onto the scene in a big way the last couple years. Definitely a medal threat, and one of only three athletes (I think) to beat Shiffrin the last couple years (Hansdotter and Wendy Holdener being the others).
Wendy Holdener - Switzerland
She's been around for a while but really broke out a couple years back and is now a regular podium threat.
The podium here will almost certainly be made up of three of these four women, but in slalom especially, anything can happen because it's a game of millimeters and straddles are a common thing. You're only ever inches away from a DNF.
Nina Haver-Loseth - Norway: She was really good last year, but got married this summer and hasn't really had as much success this year. These two things are obviously related, so never get married.
Bernadette Schild - Austria: Her older sister Marlies, a slalom legend, finished second to Shiffrin in 2014. She's been hanging out just outside the podium, and should finish relatively well.
bawfuls fucked around with this message at Feb 13, 2018 around 05:40