Lena Dürr winning Bronze in the Slalom on Saturday saw the HEAD Worldcup Rebels score another medal on the final weekend of the World Championships in Courchevel/Meribel. This marked the conclusion of the most successful World Championship so far for the HEAD team with a total of 13 medals. HEAD won Gold as the best ski brand of the World Championships. Gold medals were also won by the new World Champions Alexis Pinturault, James Crawford, Alexander Schmid and Maria Therese Tviberg.
"We were very successfully at this World Championships. We could have won the women's Downhill, but then we could have lost the men's Super-G," analyses HEAD Racing Director Rainer Salzgeber. "There were some very interesting races with a lot of close calls. When you get 13 medals, including four Golds, that's exactly what we want. We never set medal targets, but always want to give our best. And we succeeded in doing just that. This is the second major event in a row where the women's team have won medals in every discipline. On the men's team, Atle Lie McGrath being out of the running was tough for us. We had high hopes on him winning a medal, especially in the Slalom. Every single medal was a real highlight. The special highlights for me were the two medals won by Alexis Pinturault at his home World Championships, the Gold won by James Crawford and the Silver for Nina Ortlieb. This World Championships was generally very positive for the sport. They were challenging races under very fair conditions. The weather and snow conditions were great. We have never had such well prepared runs at a major event before. The organisation of the World Championships was brilliant." Regarding Lena Dürr's medal, Salzgeber says: "It was really cool that Lena Dürr has now won a medal. At the Olympics she struggled following her fourth place, now it worked out with Bronze. If she had skied the lower section of the run as she did the first three quarters, she would have moved up even further. It was such a pity that Wendy Holdener was out of the race."
First World Championship medal for Lena Dürr
Lena Dürr, fourth in the Slalom after the first run, moved up another place on the second run to win the Bronze medal. This was the first individual medal at a major event for the 31-year-old athlete from Germany. "I could hardly watch the race because I was expecting fourth place again and that would have been a kind of déjà vu from the Olympics for me," said Lena Dürr. "But the hundredths of a second were on my side today. I lost some time on the second run at the bottom, but I'm happy about my podium finish. This medal was also very important for the German team. We have worked hard over the past two years and never gave up. This medal is a reward for me and for everyone who has supported me over the past years." Seventh place went to Sara Hector from Sweden and 13th place to Franziska Gritsch. With the second-fastest time on the second run the Austrian athlete climbed another 17 places.
Alexis Pinturault is World Champion at home in Courchevel
The World Championship started with a real winter fairy tale for the HEAD Worldcup Rebels. On February 7, Alexis Pinturault became World Champion in the Combined event in his hometown of Courchevel. The 31-year-old French athlete went into the Slalom as the winner of the Super-G with start number one. Clocking the third fastest Slalom time secured his place on top of the podium. "This is a perfect day for me. It was a great performance in the Super-G and a good performance in the Slalom. The Slalom was very challenging with so many gates. But everything went well," said the new World Champion happily. "It's awesome, a sensational day for me, especially after the first part of this winter. Now I've won the Gold medal in the village where I live. These will always be great memories." For Alexis Pinturault it was his second World Championship Gold in the Combined, following his victory in Aare in 2019. Wendy Holdener took Silver in the Combined event the day before. For the Swiss athlete, this was the fifth medal in a Combined event. She was World Champion in the Combined in 2017 in St. Moritz and 2019 in Aare.
Sensational Gold medal for James Crawford
James Crawford caused a sensation in the Super-G on February 9. The Canadian athlete, who has yet to win a World Cup race, left all the favourites standing. In the World Cup, the 25-year-old has notched up two podium finishes so far, including second place in the Super-G in Kvitfjell 2022. At the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, he won the Bronze medal in the Combined event. "That is fantastic. I didn't expect anything from this World Championships, I just wanted to give it my best. I was very focused on skiing and pushed the limit from top to bottom. I couldn't believe it when it lit up green at the finish line. It was incredible," said James Crawford. Alexis Pinturault won his second medal at his home World Championship with third place in the Super-G. In the women's Super-G on February 8, Cornelia Hütter and Kajsa Vickhoff Lie shared the Bronze medal. For both athletes it was their first medal at a major event.
Gold for Schmid & Tviberg in the Parallel
In the Parallel event on February 15, both Alexander Schmid from Germany and Maria Therese Tviberg from Norway won Gold medals. And both were delighted to win their first individual medal at a major event. For the German men's team, it was the first World Championship Gold medal in 34 years. "I am very proud and am lost for words at the moment. I was very focused on every run and learned from yesterday's mistakes. I really enjoyed the final because I knew I was going to win a medal for sure. I am so happy that I was able to win a Gold medal for Germany today," said a delighted Alexander Schmid. Maria Therese Tviberg was also overjoyed: "For me, a dream has come true today. I am so proud and happy about my performance. Following my fall yesterday, it was a great achievement. Compared to the Team event, there was also less pressure because I was only racing for myself today." Wendy Holdener's Silver made it a HEAD double victory in the women's event.
Silver for Nina Ortlieb in the Downhill
Nina Ortlieb won Silver in the Downhill on February 11. The 26-year-old bagged this medal in her very first appearance at a major event. The Austrian athlete was just four hundredths of a second short of winning the Downhill event. Corinne Suter took Bronze eight hundredths of a second behind Ortlieb. It was the fifth World Championship medal for the Swiss athlete, who was World Champion in the Downhill two years ago in Cortina. In the Giant Slalom on February 16, Ragnhild Mowinckel raced to Bronze - the second World Championship medal for the Norwegian athlete following a Bronze in the Combined event in Aare in 2019.
Gold for Tommy Ford representing the USA
In the Team Parallel event on February 14, the Gold medal went to the USA, with HEAD athlete Tommy Ford. The American team beat Norway 3-2 in the final. In the Norwegian team Maria Therese Tviberg and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen were happy to win the Silver medal.
The HEAD Worldcup Rebels' medals:
Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Combined event (February 7)
James Crawford (CAN) – Super-G (February 9)
Alexander Schmid (GER) – Parallel Slalom (February 15)
Maria Therese Tviberg (NOR) – Parallel Slalom (February 15)
Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Combined event (February 6)
Nina Ortlieb (AUT) – Downhill (February 11)
Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Parallel Slalom (February 15)
Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Super-G (February 9)
Cornelia Hütter (AUT) – Super-G (February 8)
Kajsa Vickhoff Lie (NOR) – Super-G (February 8)
Corinne Suter (SUI) – Downhill (February 11)
Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) – Giant Slalom (February 16)
Lena Dürr (GER) – Slalom (February 18)