Federica Brignone Wins first Gold Medal of the 2023 World Alpine Ski Championships
Federica Brignone claimed the first gold medal of the 2023 World Alpine Ski Championships thanks to an impressive Super-G and Slalom runs in the Alpine Combined Event held in Méribel today.
Skiing from first place after the Super-G, the Italian attacked the Roc de Fer Slalom course with the second fastest slalom run to finish 1.62 seconds ahead of Wendy Holdener and 2.26 seconds ahead of Ricarda Haaser.
The 32 years old Italian skier became in Meribel the oldest winner of a women's Alpine Combined gold medal at the World Championships.
Until Brignone's victory today, the Alpine Combined was the only event Italy had yet to win on the women's side. Italy has already claimed world titles in Women's Slalom (1), Giant Slalom (2), Downhill (1), Super-G (2) and Parallel (1).
Federica Brignone became the third Italian woman to claim a world championship medal in the Combination, after Giuliana Chenal-Minuzzo (bronze) in Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1956 and Karen Putzer (bronze) in St. Anton am Arlberg in 2001.
"I am so happy and grateful for today. Elena Curtoni was behind me at the start and we both said to each other to do our best. I'm proud of myself. What was missing in my career was a gold medal and I am so excited and so happy about today. Now I'm standing here with a gold medal. I was able to control the stress and I was fully concentrated mentally. Of course, the Super-G was decisive, but the Slalom was almost perfect for my conditions", Brignone said.
Wendy Holdener finished in 15th place in the Super-G, in a good position to fight for the podium. In the slalom she set up the best time in the to claimed the silver medal, her fourth medal in a World Championship.
“I didn't look to the others at the start because I don't like looking at the skiers in front of me. I simply concentrated on myself and therefore didn't know at first whether I was fast enough at the finish line. Second place is of course very nice. I enjoyed it today and I am proud of what I achieved", Holdener said.
For the Austrian Team the Alpine Ski World Championships in Courchevel-Méribel started with a positive surprise. Ricarda Haaser won the bronze medal, her first medal and her first podium finish ever.
Austria has won seven gold medals, twelve silver medals, and now 17 bronze medals in the Alpine Combined Event.
"Probably very few expected this from me. I just concentrated and it worked out perfectly. I was tense too. I think I had two solid performances, I relied on my strengths. I kept fighting my way back. It's good that it turned out like this for once", Haaser said.
The big favorite and defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin did not finish the Slalom run -she straddled in the last gates before the finish line-, and went away empty-handed after the first event in Courchevel-Méribel.