Women's super-G: Austria revels in gold as Vonn takes bronze
At the women's super-G, Austria's Andrea Fischbacher bested favorite Lindsey Vonn and raised her ski-crazy nation's spirits with gold. Vonn said she 'stopped charging' after an initially dominant run.
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“A medal is a medal,” agreed US women’s head coach Jim Tracy, who said no one was disappointed with bronze. But, noting that Vonn was perhaps a little conservative in the lower portion of the course, he commended the aggressiveness o f Maze and Fischbacher.Skip to next paragraph
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Hermannators and Pac-Man
“In the Olympics it’s all about putting it all on the line. That was classic today of Fischbacher – she was either going to win, or go out,” he said. “Andrea is a risk-taker. She doesn’t go for second-best.”
Like her second cousin Hermann Maier, known as the “Hermannator” for his dominant performances – particularly in the speed events – Fischbacher's run was worthy of her first win at a major international event.
It helped that her coach, Jürgen Kriechbaum, was the one who set the course – a duty that rotates among coaches from different countries.
“He was really thinking hard how he would set the course,” said Fischbacher. “He was making a perfect course for me.”
Fischbacher’s young teammate Anna Fenninger agreed that it played to her strengths.
“It was really a course for Andrea – it was really hard to be fast. So much speed, so many turns, and bumpy,” said Fenninger, who finished 16th and third for Austria. “When I saw [her run], I thought, that’s it” – she won.
But Kreichbaum, who had complained upon arriving at the athletes' village in Whistler that he had no TV, joked that it was Pac-Man that brought Fischbacher gold.
“The coaches played Pac-Man before the downhill,” when Elisabeth Goergl won bronze, said Kreichbaum, who now has a TV and Internet in his room. “And we played Pac-Man yesterday, so maybe this is the reason” for Austria’s success.
Slovenia's first-ever silver in Winter Olympics
While Vonn is generally stronger in the speed events that are now over, Maze – Slovenia’s flag-bearer, who has finished in the top 8 all week here – is stronger in Giant Slalom.
“She’s a threat in every single event,” said Tracy, the US coach. “Tina’s a fighter … she deserves this.”
Tentative on the downhill earlier in the week, she was beaming after her performance today, which earned Slovenia its first silver medal in a Winter Olympic sport.
“I’m happy that I did do the downhill and felt the fear, and [then] showed all the courage today,” said Maze, who dedicated her performance to injured athletes who couldn’t compete.
Earlier in the week, Maze’s teammate Petra Majdic came back after a hard crash in warm-up to win bronze in the cross-country sprint – only to find out later that she did it with four broken ribs.
Slovenia’s press chief Branislav Dimitrovic said that while she will be unable to race any more at these Games, he hopes she will be able to return today from the Vancouver hospital where she’s been staying.
“Maybe she will celebrate this silver medal with us tonight,” he said.