WRAP: Big experience for Small and rookie teammates
24 February 2014
ALPINE SKIING: Teenager Greta Small flew the flag for Australia in every event on the women’s Alpine program at Sochi 2014.
Small was joined by Lavinia Chrystal and Emily Bamford in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events, with Ross Peraudo and Dominic Demschar in the men’s Slalom and Giant Slalom.
The Team of Olympic rookies produced strong results for Australia as Austria climbed to the top of the Alpine medal tally with 9 medals including 3 gold.
Small landed Australia’s best Alpine result of the Games when she placed 15th in her first event- Super Combined. Small was the second youngest in the field by eight days.
Racing from Day 3 through to Day 14, Small added a 29th in Downhill, 31st in Slalom and 41st in Giant Slalom to her impressive Olympic tally. She unfortunately made a costly mistake on the final run to the finish in the Super G, missed the gate and recorded a Did Not Finish (DNF).
At the end of the monster campaign, Small rated holding first place for a short time in the Super Combined as her best moment in Sochi.
“The best part for me was coming down and leading and then getting to go in the leader’s circle. That was definitely a highlight,” Small said.
Chrystal was Australia’s best in the Giant Slalom with 40th on her Olympic debut, and held onto 32nd in the Slalom. Bamford managed 50th in the Giant Slalom and was unlucky not to finish the Slalom event, but will come back fighting in 2018.
“I’m still incredibly proud of how I’ve gone and of all my achievements to date. Everything’s been so positive and this is just something I can take into the future,” she said.
On the men’s side, Dominic Demschar finished 39th in the Giant Slalom and had a DNF on a notoriously difficult day of Slalom. Sochi 2014 was a great learning experience for the 20-year-old on the road to PyeongChang 2018.
“I’m still pretty young compared to most of these guys,” Demschar said.
“It’s cool to sit at the bottom and watch them before you go and realise you’ve got to chase that.”
Peraudo recorded two DNFs, but was equally as thrilled to race the world’s best.
“It’s a dream come true… Everything was special. The experience, the race - it was fun to see the other guys go, you know, the best in the world win and try and learn something from them. It was just all an amazing experience,” he said.
Slovenia’s Tina Maze dominated the women’s medal tally with two gold medals. She won the Giant Slalom and had an historic dead-heat for first in the Downhill with Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin.
Other dual medallists in the women’s event were Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch (gold- Super Combined; silver- Super G) and Austrians Anna Fenninger (gold- Super G; silver Giant Slalom) and Nicole Hosp (silver- Super Combined; bronze- Super G). American 18-year-old rising star Mikaela Shiffrin won the Slalom.
In men’s racing Ted Ligety won the Giant Slalom to become the first American male Alpine skier to earn two gold medals. The Austrian men returned to the podium with gold medals to Matthias Mayer (Downhill) and Mario Matt (Slalom) and silver to Marcel Hirscher (Slalom).