Canadian Laurence St-Germain is the New Slalom World Champion
Updated: Feb 19
Another big surprise at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships in Méribel and Courchevel. In the Women's Slalom, gold surprisingly went to Laurence St-Germain, who left the US favorite Mikaela Shiffrin behind by 0.57 seconds. Bronze went to German Lena Duerr (+0.69).
“I was not expecting this, it’s unbelievable. I was really stressed, I felt nauseous. I just wanted to really attack. I made a few mistakes, but then I thought I had to go even faster. I knew I was skiing fast in training and I knew if I stuck to my plan then I could do good things. But winning was not expected at all. After crossing the finish line I was waiting for the time because I wasn’t sure. And then I was like, it’s impossible. After I was asking which side I should go on the podium for second because I didn’t know, but in the end I had to be in the middle! It’s crazy", St-Germain said.
It's the 4th medal for the Canadian team in Courchevel-Méribel 2023. She joins James Crawford (Men’s Super-G champion), Cameron Alexander (Men’s Downhill bronze), and the Mixed Team Parallel quartet (bronze). St-Germain wrote another page in Canadian ski history with her gold medal. For the second time a Canadian won the world title in Slalom. Anne Heggtveit achieved this feat in 1960 in Squaw Valley.
St-Germain claimed today her first-ever World Championship medal, but also the first win of his career in a major event. Until today the 28-year-old Canadian skier was never in the podium. Her best result in Slalom in the World Cup was a 6th place in Levi in 2020.
After the first run everything seemed set for a battle for gold in the second run between Mikaela Shiffrin and Wendy Holdener with an unexpected guest for the medal fight: Laurence St-Germain. Wearing the number 18, the Canadian finished the first run in third place +0.61 seconds behind Shiffrin.
In the second run Lena Duerr, 4th in the first run, took the lead but St-Germain with a full risk perfomance defends her position. Wendy Holdener then failed to finish her run (DNF). When she had already passed what seemed to be the most difficult sections of the course and had increased her lead over the leading Laurence St-Germain to 72 hundredths, shortly before the finish, she hits a pole on the ski and she misses the next gate.
And when everything looks cleared for a second gold medal for Shiffrin, she made a few mistakes, and setting the 29th time in the second run, she finished second to win her third medal in France.
Mikaela Shiffrin, already the winner of the Slalom Crystal Globe after five Slalom victories in nine races this season, won her third medal in Méribel after gold in Giant Slalom and silver in Super-G, but missed her fifth world title in Slalom after winning in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019 . With today's silver medal only German Christel Cranz (15) has won more World Championships medals than Shiffrin (14).
"If you take a little out, it's not enough anymore. After two weeks I was just tired and I can't move as fast as needed. Fast enough for silver, but not for gold. I set out to do it, but couldn't make it happen. I'm happy for the Canadian Federation and Laurence", Shiffrin said.
For Lena Duerr it was the first individual medal of her career after three medals with the team. Just before the World Championships Lena had won at Spindleruv Mlyn her first World Cup Slalom race after beating Mikaela Shiffrin by a mere 0.06 seconds. It's her eighth podium in the World Cup, the fourth one in Slalom in the 2022-2023 World Cup season. 31-year-old Duerr was the oldest German woman to win a World Cup event (including East and West Germany).
"A medal was the goal and I'm glad that I can be so happy here. I was already expecting fourth place, had a brief Olympic déjà vu", Duerr said.
"(St-Germain win is) incredibly cool, that's ski racing. There's always something surprising. A story like that usually happens at major events", she added.