Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin finished in a thrilling dead heat as an Alpine skiing gold medal was shared for the first time in Winter Olympics history on Wednesday in a dramatic women’s downhill.
Gisin, the Swiss outsider, was first to clock one minute, 41.57 seconds down the icy, 2.7-kilometre course and in brilliant sunshine it looked to have been enough for outright victory.
But Gisin, who has not won a World Cup downhill race since 2009 and whose best finish in the downhill this season is seventh, had not counted on Maze, the 2013 super-G world champion and proven big-stage performer.
Starting 13 runners after Gisin on a course that had not broken up, the Slovenian led all the splits but lost a little time after the final jump to come charging through the finish line in a dead heat.
Maze has had a relatively poor season, which was only partially rescued by a first downhill win in Cortina d’Ampezzo, last month, but her third-place finish in the downhill run of the super-combined was a reminder of her speed abilities. “I’m extremely happy and completely overwhelmed,” said a tearful Gisin, who called her family immediately after the race. “I don’t think I even dreamt about this. Now that I have won, I am living the dream, but this is better than dreaming.
“I was speaking to my grandad and grandma. Everybody is extremely excited. They were just crying and I was crying, too.”
Maze added: “This doesn’t feel real. I will have to see my team to get myself together and realise how much this means to us.
“I have been dreaming about this since I was little. The first ski race I ever won in my life was a downhill so before I went down the track today I said to myself, ‘This has to be it. I can do it’, and I just went for it.”
Maze said there were no hard feelings sharing the gold.
“It’s a great feeling because Dominique and I are pretty good friends. We have the same mentality. It’s good to see her winning gold, too. I am very happy for her,” she said.
There was more joy for the Swiss team when Lara Gut, who so far this season has won three super-G races and one downhill World Cup race and finished second in the combined’s downhill, claimed bronze, 0.10 seconds adrift.
Elsewhere, in the final of the pairs’ figure skating, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov gave hosts Russia a second skating gold of the Games after Sunday’s success in the team event.
Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov make it a Russian one-two, with the Germans Savchenko and Szolkowy having to settle for bronze.
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