Maze, Gisin earn double gold tie in downhill; Yurkiw 19th

2/12/2014 4:22:32 AM
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Tina Maze of Slovenia matched the time of Dominique Gisin, leading to an unprecedented tie for the Olympic gold medal in the women's downhill on Wednesday.

Both skiers crossed the line at Rosa Khutor in one minute, 41.57 seconds.

Gisin last won a downhill on the World Cup circuit nearly four years ago, but the 28-year-old served notice of her desire to win with the fastest time in the third training session at Sochi.

Gisin led three Swiss skiers into the top 5 and became the fifth woman from her country to finish first in the women's Olympic downhill. The last was Michela Figini, who did it as a 17-year-old in 1984.

Maze's result was less surprising, but history making.

The 30-year-old, who enjoyed a dominant 2012-13 season, becomes Slovenia's first ever Winter Olympics gold medallist in any sport. The country now has 11 medals in Winter Games competition through the years, including Maze's silvers in super-G and giant slalom four years ago in Vancouver.

Lara Gut won the bronze. Gut, who has five World Cup wins this season, gave a stern challenge to her compatriot Gisin but finished 1-10th of a second behind.

Three skiers later, Maze laid down her time to stun observers.

Canadian Larisa Yurkiw finished 19th. The Owen Sound, Ont., native crossed in a time of 1:43.46.

Yurkiw, 25, poured thousands into her Olympic dream and raised sponsorships when funding dried up following injury-plagued seasons.

Several expected contenders did not factor.

Julia Mancuso of the United States was eighth, while Maria-Hoefl Riesch of Germany and Elisabeth Goergl were out of the top 10.

Mancuso and Goergl rounded out the podium at the 2010 Vancouver Games behind Lindsey Vonn, who isn't in Sochi due to knee surgery.

Hoefl-Riesch was looking to become just the third skier to win four Olympic gold medals in her career, but she'll have two more chances over the next 10 days.

Meanwhile, Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden of Switzerland and Anna Fenninger of Austria skied off course. Both had been on the podium in the downhill this season.

Fenninger's run, coming right after Maze, signaled that there would likely be a historic tie.

Swiss veteran Fabienne Suter was first out of the gate, and her time held up as the best until Gisin seven skiers later.

Suter finished fifth, one spot behind Daniela Merighetti, the Italian who complained about the dangerous nature of the course after a mishap on the first day of Sochi downhill training last week.

France's Marie Marchand-Avrier, the fourth down the hill, lost her balance and crashed into the netting but was able to get up under her own power after a few minutes down.

Carolina Ruiz Castillo of Spain skied off course, skidding just short of the net.

The next women's alpine event is super-G on Saturday.

Dominique Gisin Tina Maze (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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