Germany's Rebensburg takes surprise gold in women's giant slalom
Germany picked up its 8th gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics after Olympic debutant Viktoria Rebensburg won the women's giant slalom, ahead of Slovenia's Tina Maze and Elisabeth Goergl of Austria.
AFP - German Olympic debutant Viktoria Rebensburg sprung a huge surprise Thursday to upset the field and win the women's giant slalom, ahead of Slovenia's Tina Maze and Austrian Elisabeth Goergl.
Rebensburg clocked a total combined time of 2min 27.11sec over the two runs, the second of which was held over to Thursday because of bad weather, 0.04sec ahead of Maze with Goergl a further 0.10sec adrift.
"It's unbelievable," said the German, whose previous best finish on the elite World Cup circuit was a second in this season's giant slalom in Cortina.
"It's going to take a few days to sink in. I just want to enjoy the ceremony and the rest of the day. We'll celebrate tonight.
"I don't think I had as much pressure as the top three but I know I can ski fast and win a race, so I made my own pressure."
Maze added a further medal to her super-G silver and said she was relieved to have finally put together some good performances on the world stage.
"It's great," the Slovenian said. "When I arrived here I knew I was a strong racer but I didn't expect to take two medals because I was never racing well at big events.
"The conditions were better today, a little soft but the same for everyone. It was a good but difficult race."
With the Austrian men medal-less and just Saturday's slalom to go, Goergl was again left flying her country's flag, picking up bronze to go with her third-placed finish in the downhill.
The overnight leader said she had given everything but the "conditions were a little softer than I expected".
"I lost gold but won bronze. It was so close," she said.
"It was a good challenge to get back into race mood (after the hold over). It was a good experience and good practice."
Wednesday's first run was overshadowed by American speed queen Lindsey Vonn crashing out and breaking a finger bone.
In thick snow, team-mate Julia Mancuso's run immediately after Vonn was brought to a halt and the double silver medallist was forced to start again.
Mancuso, the defending Olympic champion in the discipline, eventually finished 1.30sec off Goergl, and despite a fast second run could only end in eighth at 0.55sec.
"For sure I was bummed out by it, but it was out of my control," Mancuso said of the yellow flag on Wednesday.
"I just had to hang in there and stay in the game, show I was ready to do it.
"It sucks but sometimes that happens in life."
Mancuso was also quick to play down talk of a feud between her and Vonn.
"I really think it's been taken a little out of proportion," she said of an interview she gave to Sports Illustrated in which she said the media attention Vonn received upset the US team's dynamic.
"Of course she deserves the attention, she's the best US skier we've ever had.
"We're both very different and have both got to these Games and got medals in opposite ways. It's always good to see a fellow American on the podium."