With the start of the competitions on Thursday, the sun came to Cortina and stayed – to the joy of everyone, not just the tourism companies, who, in view of the pandemic situation, recognized the television pictures in front of the impressive panorama of the Dolomites as advertising and a glimmer of hope. The TV racing program was tight.
Masks there and there and tests
The close-knit network of tests and the strict safety precautions may have played their part, even though shops and restaurants were open during the day, as everywhere in Veneto.
In the streets as well as in public areas, at the finish of the races and during interviews, attention was paid to the necessary distance between all those involved and the athletes, although it was handled quite loosely. Spectator? Were not allowed per se or only a maximum of 350 per competition, which dampened the mood, but not the performance of the athletes.
ÖSV team on the wave of success
For Austria, Cortina was a huge success, the medal table was a clear matter for the team of association president Peter Schröcksnadel, who was only present on selected days at his last World Cup and in bright sunshine – the slalom and the men’s downhill. To Schröcksnadel’s delight, Vincent Kriechmayr was won by an ÖSV athlete for the first time in 18 years.
With gold in the Super-G and the speed double before that, the Upper Austrian rose to par with legends like Hermann Maier and Bode Miller. You were the only athlete to have succeeded at a World Cup so far.
Highlights never end
With the end of the speed competitions, the medal series of the men was not over and one of the ÖSV women was also in the picture. Katharina Liensberger and Marco Schwarz ensured that the success story continued seamlessly. Liensberger first won gold at the World Cup premiere of the parallel competition, Black won the combination.
The bronze medals, which both then won in the giant slalom, the declared problem area of the ÖSV, shone even more. Surprisingly, Liensberger and Schwarz had soared to top performance and untied the knot in the Alpine core discipline.
The 23-year-old World Cup debutant started the finals as a leader for the first time in his young career, turned out to be a “cool sock” and took silver, while Black, with the third medal in mind, briefly left the finish line. Pertl’s callousness at a young age exceeded expectations. With silver, the fifth medal of the ÖSV men, the Carinthian polished the balance.
The 23-year-old also ended the years of reign of the American Mikaela Shiffrin, who had become world champion in slalom four times in a row and lost an incredible two seconds to Liensberger in Cortina as third.
The Vorarlberg woman, the first ÖSV double world champion since Elisabeth Görgl in Garmisch in 2011, advanced into Shiffrin dimensions.
Luck with the hundredths
As easily as Liensberger won the slalom – the hundredths of luck this time was also on the side of the Austrians. Kriechmayr won the descent by a hundredth of a second and was 0.07 seconds ahead in the Super-G. 0.04 decided the combination in favor of black.
In the parallel competition, Liensberger was only declared the ex-aequo winner after the intervention of the ÖSV, after she was initially ranked second behind the Italian Marta Bassino. With the necessary portion of luck it is easier to win. In the world cup? It wasn’t always like that, as Liensberger and Schwarz remarked in unison.
Double world champion times two
With two gold medals and one made of bronze, Liensberger rose to be the superstar of the second week of the World Cup and drew level with the Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami, who, in addition to bronze in the downhill, had won gold in super-G and giant slalom. Four medals went to Shiffrin, but only in the station wagon it was gold.
Speed star Kriechmayr was the man of the first week, Schwarz that of the second, although the previously reserved second gold medal in his favorite discipline, slalom, failed to materialize. Three double world champions at a world championship would have been a novelty in the history of the Austrian Ski Association.
Austria had two at least double world champions like Liensberger and Kriechmayr in Cortina to celebrate three times in the history of the World Cup. 1933 in Innsbruck by Inge Wersin-Lantscher, who won three golds, and Anton Seelos; 1962 in Chamonix, the most successful world championships for Austria, by Marianne Jahn and Karl Schranz; and in 1999 in Vail, where Alexandra Meissnitzer and Hermann Maier performed.
A total of five ÖSV gold medals at a World Cup happened five times, it was one more back then in Chamonix. With also silver and two bronze medals, Cortina ranked sixth in the ÖSV best list in 2021.
Without a medal, but with her head held high, Ramona Siebenhofer left Cortina for the third time after the giant slalom in fifth place. Already in the station wagon and downhill she had performed convincingly and at the same time became an unlucky ÖSV. She was not granted the first World Cup medal. In Aare 2019, she was fourth in the station wagon. After the previously lackluster World Cup season, Siebenhofer had managed to reverse the trend in Cortina. With three top positions, she doesn’t have to hide, as the Styrian rightly stated.
The re was nothing more than gold from Marta Bassino and silver from Luca de Aliprandini in the giant slalom in the absence of the injured Sofia Goggia.
Dominik Paris, Federica Brignone (dropouts in slalom and favorite in the giant slalom) and ultimately Alex Vinatzer in fourth in the slalom went empty-handed, which was just as surprising as four medals for the German Ski Association – three silver medals in the speed competitions and bronze it in team competition. Second in the World Cup for DSV in Super-G behind Kriechmayr was a Tyrolean with Romed Baumann.
The next World Cup will take place in Courchevel in 2023.