Austria’s Fischbacher wins gold in super-G, Vonn takes bronze

Austrian Andrea Fischbacher won the gold medal in the ladies’ super-G in Whistler on Saturday, while favourite Lindsey Vonn of the United States settled for bronze.

Fischbacher’s time of 1:20.14 could not be beaten, as she finished 0.49 seconds ahead of silver medallist Tina Maze, of Slovenia, and 0.74 seconds in front of Vonn.

Her gold is just the second alpine medal of the Games for Austria, typically a powerhouse in the sport. Fischbacher just missed out on the podium in the downhill, finishing three one-hundredths of a second behind the bronze medallist, her teammate Elisabeth Goergl.

Vonn had been considered the favourite heading into the race. She leads the World Cup standings in the super-G by a wide margin and already won a gold medal in the downhill on Wednesday.

She did sit in first place after her run, but was quickly pushed down the podium when Fischbacher raced two skiers later. Fourth-place finisher Johanna Schnarf of Italy nearly took over third place, but she couldn’t hold her speed through the end and finished 0.11 seconds behind Vonn.

Britt Janyk was Canada’s top performer with a 17th place finish. She nearly fell after the first jump, but was able to hold on and finish the race.

Georgia Simmerling was the only other Canadian to complete the race, finishing 27th in her Olympic debut. The 20-year-old had been scheduled to compete in the downhill and super combined as well, but was pulled from those races due to risk of injury after not having enough training runs on the course.

Both Emily Brydon and Shona Rubens were unable to finish the run. Brydon, competing in her final Olympics, fell after she became a little twisted up at one point and couldn’t recover. Rubens’ race was over after she missed one of the gates.

Brydon finishes her Olympics with a 16th in the downhill and 14th in the super combined.

Many of the competitors who raced near the start had trouble with the difficult course, as just six of the first 11 skiers finished the race. A few women missed gates after making wide turns, possibly confusing the track with the downhill, where the gates were set a little differently.

Light also could have been a factor, as skiers raced in and out of the sunlight through sharp turns.

While skiers have training runs for the downhill event, they are only given one hour to inspect the super-G course.

The completion of the super-G marks the end of the speed events for the women. Just two more opportunities to medal remain, those being the more technical events of slalom and giant slalom.