Maria Hoefl-Riesch used all her experience to successfully defend the Olympics Super Combined Gold medal she also won in Vancouver in 2010. Taking Silver was Niki Hosp with Julia Mancuso taking the bronze after having had the silver in Vancouver.
Mancuso had produced a stunning downhill section of the race to take the lead before the Slalom. Like Matthias Mayer in the Men’s downhill, being relaxed was key for Mancuso in the downhill section. Starting 22, last of the top seeds, Mancuso explained why her downhill had been so good: “I was just full of energy when I kicked out of the start, and the snow felt a little bit softer, so it was easier to really drive in to my ski,” said Mancuso. “Yeah, having a day off, I felt really energized today. First race of the Olympics — I was excited and just really focused on being aerodynamic and going for it.”
The result was a lead of 0.47 over Lara Gut with Tina Maze in second and then came Anna Fenninger and Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
Maria Hoefl-Riesch was chasing the time set by Niki Hosp in the finish. With the two racers starting between her and Hosp having skied out, Hoefl-Riesch put in a solid top and then a blinding lower section yet admitted when she crossed the line that she “was just hoping for a green light after I finished because I knew the last starters weren't very good at slalom except for Tina Maze.”
It was green.
This left Maze, then Gut and finally Mancuso to race for the medals. Maze could not match the speed generated by Hoefl-Riesch on the lower section and slid down to third. Gut crashed out and then it was the small matter of a head to head match off.
“(In the slalom start), I was just thinking, stay calm and use my heart, and I skied my heart out,” said Mancuso. “That was really tough, it was a really, really difficult slalom run, so gave it my best shot. It sure didn’t feel good. I definitely had moments in my mind where I was thinking, ‘This is not going to be good enough.’ But kept fighting and I knew where to let it run on that last pitch and, surprise, looked up and got a medal.”
The joy on her face said it all as she took her fourth Olympic Medal and Hoefl-Riesch took Gold.
Olympic Champion: Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER)
Silver Medal: Niki Hosp (AUT)
Bronze Medal: Julia Mancuso (USA)
8. Anna Fenninger (AUT)