Youngster Alice Robinson breaks a record that stood unbeaten since the ’80s: scoring her third career win before turning 20.
By Daphne Seberich
Alice Robinson triumphed at the Giant Slalom finals held in Lenzerheide. The Kiwi youngster, who already managed to impress everyone watching at home with her wins in Sölden and Kranjska Gora in 2020, breaks an unbeaten record since the ’80s. Who could say to have already three career World Cup wins at 19? Legends like Lindsey Vonn and Nicole Hosp came close to breaking this myth but couldn’t quite achieve to make it in the history books with this statistic under their belt.
The young Kiwi topped the Lenzerheide podium, with Mikaela Shiffrin and Meta Hrovat completing the top-three. An outstanding second run allowed the youngster to clinch the win of the race.
“I wasn’t happy at all with my first run,” said Robinson to FIS. “So I just thought I have to go full gas and give it all my energy in the second run since it was the last of the season I gave every bit of energy and power that I had.”
Robinson debuted in the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup only two seasons ago, impressing from the get-go. On her debut at the Andorra finals in 2019, she scored her first podium, clinching second as the Junior World Champion invitee.
Federica Brignone kicked off the race with a time of 1:12.47 Although the Italian wasn’t satisfied with her performance, Lara Gut-Behrami didn’t even end her run. Some speculated that it was an act of protest for the canceled speed events in Lenzerheide that, if held, could have potentially changed the Overall Crystal Globe win in favor of the Swiss. This assumption has been denied by the Swiss ski federation. American Mikaela Shiffrin beat the Italian with a 1.39 advantage at the finish line.
The Overall Crystal Globe winner Petra Vlhova didn’t have her best performance and ended 1.83 seconds behind the lead. Swiss speedster and Saturday’s third-place winner Michelle Gisin was the athlete closest to Shiffrin’s mark with an 81 hundredths delay from the top.
The Giant Slalom Crystal Globe winner Marta Bassino was incredibly quick during her run. The Italian found the perfect race line and speed to finish only 10 hundredths behind the blistering time set by Shiffrin.
Saturday’s Slalom Crystal Globe winner Katharina Liensberger regained confidence in her Giant Slalom abilities, crossing the finish line 1.08 seconds behind the provisional leader of the race.
Kranjska Gora’s third-place winner Meta Hrovat was the surprise of the first run, as her intermediates were green throughout her attempt. At the finish line, a one-tenth of a second delay put her in ex aequo with Marta Bassino in second.
New Zealand’s youngster Alice Robinson, who came back to the podium in Jasna, had an outstanding performance, finishing in fourth.
After the inversion, the second run began with Ragnhild Mowinckel’s attempt at the leadership. With an overall time of 2.25.02 the Norwegian set the bar for the next competitors. Cortina Downhill World Champion Corinne Suter managed to increase her advantage over Mowinckel, crossing the finish line with a 77 hundredths advantage.
American Nina O’Brian blew it out of the water, incrementing her advantage over Suter intermediate by intermediate. Her overall performance allowed her to earn the provisional lead being over 99 hundredths ahead of the Swiss.
Elena Curtoni was hoping for a career-best result in Giant Slalom but the interpretation of the last part of the slope was not good enough to take over the leadership. 14-hundredths, although, allowed her although to stay close behind the American. Polish skier Maryna Gasienica-Daniel had an outstanding performance, serving almost a second of delay to O’Brian. Petra Vlhova barely missed out on the leadership by only two-hundredths of a second.
The biggest surprise was Tessa Worley, who despite making a major mistake in the middle part of the course still managed to recover over eight tenths, beating Gasienica-Daniel for the leadership of the race. Swede Sara Hector then took over the top spot of the competition, crossing the finish line with six-tenths of advantage.
Federica Brignone was hoping for a comeback to break a record for Italy: becoming the only Italian skier to win a race in Giant Slalom for six years in a row. 72-hundredths of advantage over Hector earned her the leadership, but she still had six competitors to beat.
Katharina Liensberger didn’t manage to dethrone Brignone but earned the second spot of the ranking. Two-hundredths of a second separated Michelle Gisin and the Italian superstar after her second run attempt.
Alice Robinson was a rocketship. She managed to let her ski run loose, maximizing speed and fluidity of movement. An astonishing advantage of 1.29 won her the top spot of the race. Red bib wearer Marta Bassino couldn’t beat the Kiwi skier, accumulating an excessive delay that allowed her to only place fifth.
Meta Hrovat couldn’t manage to beat Robinson as well. She still secured although the runner-up position with 48 hundredths of delay. American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin couldn’t score the top spot of the standings either but was still content with second place.
This race concluded a highly contended 2020/2021 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup women’s season. What can we expect in the future from these brilliant athletes? Fans can’t wait to see them back on the slopes in the fall!