Courchevel-Méribel 2023. Giant Slalom Races Preview
Updated: Feb 18
The 47th Alpine World Ski Championships in Méribel and Courchevel continues on Thursday with the Women's Giant Slalom Event followed by the Men's event on Friday.
Defending Champions Lara Gut-Behrami and Mathieu Faivre are the ones to fight to retain the title.
Thursday, February 16. 1 run 9:45 / 2run 13:30 CET Giant Slalom Women
Friday, February 17. 1 run 10:00 / 2run 13:30 CET Giant Slalom Men
A super tight Giant Slalom race full of emotion until the very last moment gave Lara Gut-Behrami a second gold medal in Cortina 2021. She won gold in the Super-G and also a bronze medal in the Downhill.
Mikaela Shiffrin finished in second place just +0.02 behind Gut-Behrami.
Katharina Liensberger rounded out the podium in third place +0.09 seconds behind the Swiss.
Lara Gut-Behrami can become the fifth woman to win back-to-back Giant Slalom world titles, after Marielle Goitschel (1964-1966), Vreni Schneider (1987-1989), Deborah Compagnoni (1996-1997) and Anja Pärson (2003-2005).
Gut-Behrami has claimed eight career World Championships medals (G2-S3-B3). The only Swiss skier, male or female, to collect as many medals at the World Championships is Pirmin Zurbriggen (9).
Mikaela Shiffrin has won 12 career medals at the World championships, including six titles (G6-S3-B3). Only Christel Cranz (15) and Anja Pärson (13) have claimed more world championships medals than Shiffrin (12).
Only Cranz (12), Pärson (7), Marielle Goitschel (7), Marcel Hirscher (7) and Toni Sailer (7) have won more world titles than Shiffrin (6).
This season, Shiffrin has won five of the eight women's World Cup Giant Slalom events, including each of the last three.
The only women representing United States to have won the Giant Slalom world title are Andrea Mead-Lawrence (1952, at the Olympic Games), and Diann Roffe-Steinrotter (1985).
Shiffrin claimed two silver (2017, 2021) and one bronze (2019) in this discipline at the world championships.
Tessa Worley won the world title in the women's Giant Slalom in 2013 and 2017. She can become the second skier, male or female, to win three Giant Slalom world titles, after Ted Ligety (3) on the men's side.
Worley, 33 years old, can become the oldest world champion in the Giant Slalom, surpassing Hermann Maier who was 32 years old when he won the Men's event in 2005.
Federica Brignone won the women's world title in the Alpine combined on 6 February. In the Giant Slalom, she already claimed a world championships medal 12 years ago: silver in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on 17 February 2011.
Brignone can become the second Italian world champion in the women's Giant Slalom, after Deborah Compagnoni (1996, 1997).
Sara Hector can become the fourth woman to win the Giant Slalom world title as the reigning Olympic Champion in this event, after Marielle Goitschel (1966), Vreni Schneider (1989) and Compagnoni (1996, 1997).
Hector can become the seventh skier, male or female, representing Sweden to become world champion in any event and the first since Pärson claimed three world titles in 2007.
Ragnhild Mowinckel can become the third Norwegian to win a world title in a women's event, after Inger Bjørnbakken in 1958 (Slalom) and Maria Therese Tviberg in this year's edition (Parallel giant Slalom, 15 February).
Marta Bassino became world champion in the Women's Super-G last week (8 February). Four women won the Super-G and Giant Slalom world title in the same year: Alexandra Meissnitzer (1999), Anja Pärson (2005), Anna Veith (2015) and Lara Gut-Behrami (2021).
Bassino (2) can join Compagnoni (3) on a record three world titles among Italian women.
Cortina's Giant Slalom race proved anything is possible in alpine racing and you can go all the way from Zero to Hero in a blink. Among the three medalists, only gold-medal winner Mathieu Faivre had ever earned a Giant Slalom podium in the World Cup.
Luca di Aliprandini, finished in the second position +0.63 seconds behind Faivre. Before Cortina he had never made the top three in a top-level Giant Slalom race.
Rounding out the podium was Marco Schwarz (+0.87). Schwarz already had a gold medal from the Alpine Combined, but much like di Aliprandini, he is better known for his Slalom skills and Cortina marked his first top-level podium finish in the Giant Slalom.
Marco Odermatt won the Men's Downhill world title last Sunday, February 12, claiming his first career World Championships medal. Odermatt can become the fifth man to win the Downhill and the Giant Slalom at the same world championships, after Toni Sailer (1956 and 1958), Zeno
Colò (1950), Jean-Claude Killy (1968) and Aksel Lunde Svindal (2007).
The last Swiss man to claim a world championships medal in the Giant Slalom was Carlo Janka, when he won this event in 2009.
The Giant Slalom Olympic Champion in Beijing 2022 won four of the six men's World Cup Giant Slalom races this season. He reached the podium in each of the last 12 men's World Cup Giant Slalom events he participated in.
Henrik Kristoffersen won the world title in the Men's Giant Slalom in 2019.
He can become the eighth man to win multiple world titles in this event, after Ted Ligety (3), Gustav Thöni, Ingemar Stenmark, Michael von Grünigen, Rudolf Nierlich, Stein Eriksen, and Toni Sailer (all 2).
Alexis Pinturault already claimed two World Championships medals in the Giant Slalom, bronze in 2015 and 2019. Pinturault also claimed bronze in this discipline at the 2014 and 2018 Olympic Games.
Pinturault can become the fifth French skier to win the men's Giant Slalom world title, after François Bonlieu (1964), Guy Périllat (1966), Jean Claude Killy (1968) and Mathieu Faivre (2021). Bonlieu and Killy's titles came at the Olympic Games which also counted as a world title.
Žan Kranjec can become the third man representing Slovenia to claim a World Championships medal, after Mitja Kunc (bronze in the Men's Slalom in 2001) and Štefan Hadalin (silver in the men's Alpine combined in 2019).
Loic Meillard is one of the last all-round skiers. This season he achieved five podiums, the last one after winning the Giant Slalom in Schladming, his 14th World Cup podium.
In 2022 he had previously achieved a second place in the Slalom in Wengen, a third place in the Giant Slalom in Adelboden, and two third places in the Slalom in Val d'Isère and in the Super-G in Bormio. This makes Meillard the first skier since Marcel Hirscher in the 2015-2016 season to have made it onto the podium in Giant Slalom, Slalom and Super-G podiums in the same winter.
At the world championships in 2021, he won a bronze medal in the Alpine Combined event.
Marco Schwarz and Manuel Feller are both aiming to become the seventh Austrian man to win the world title in the Giant Slalom and the first since Marcel Hirscher in 2017.
Austria has won the Men's Giant Slalom World title eight times. Switzerland and Norway has won it six times.