Gut-Behrami kicks off ski world champs with super-G victory, Shiffrin third

Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy) (AFP) –


Switzerland's Lara Gut-Behrami landed the first gold of the world ski championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, storming to an emphatic win in the women's super-G on Thursday, while Mikaela Shiffrin claimed bronze.

Gut-Behrami, who previously won world silver (2013) and bronze (2017) in the super-G, laid down a near-perfect run to clock 1min 25.51sec on the 2.15km-long Olympic delle Tofane course.

Corinne Suter made it a Swiss 1-2, finishing 0.34sec off the leading pace, while defending world champion Shiffrin paid the price for a mistake heading into the final third of the unforgiving course.

Shiffrin skidded wide on one turn and saw her intermediate leads disappear, eventually finishing third, at 0.47sec, for her eighth world championship medal to draw level with now-retired former teammate Lindsey Vonn.

Reigning Olympic champion Ester Ledecka, the Czech code-hopper from parallel snowboarding, came in fourth at 0.54sec in front of empty stands, fans banned from attending the world champs because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In cold conditions, the picturesque course was bathed in brilliant sunshine after heavy snow and fog had caused the rescheduling of events earlier in the week.

Starting with bib number seven, three behind Shiffrin and two behind Suter, Gut-Behrami attacked from the start hut.

With her distinctive low crouch, the 29-year-old kept her form to streak across the finish line for her first world gold, becoming the first Swiss racer to claim world super-G gold since Maria Walliser won the title in 1987.

She also equalled Italian Isolde Kostner and the American duo of Vonn and Julia Mancuso on a record three world championship medals in the discipline.