First-ever tie for Olympic alpine skiing gold: Newsmaker of Day 5
Tina Maze, Dominique Gisin share top of the podium
Olympic history continues to be written on the slopes of Sochi. Alpine skiing history, this time.
Slovenian Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland became the first-ever alpine skiers to share Olympic gold after finishing their downhill race Wednesday with the exact same time.
Gisin powered down the hill at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center first, posting a time of 1:41:57. Maze, a favourite in the event, followed later … with the identical time.
They have been very close friends for many years. And what better than to share the biggest moment of your professional career with a friend?
"I'm sure glad I'm going to share this gold with Tina," said Gisin. "She's such a great woman and one of the greatest athletes of our sport."
But no, they’re not going to literally “share” the medal. Each competitor will get one, both gold.
"It's even more interesting because it's not a usual thing," said Maze. "It's something special."
It is the eighth time two athletes have been awarded gold in the Winter Olympics.
Gisin couldn't contain her excitement and took to social media to express her feelings.
OMG! Gold!!was für ein tag...thank you all for the wonderful support, it's a dream, only better because it's the reality!
— Dominique Gisin (@dominiquegisin) February 12, 2014
Switzerland's Lara Gut rounded up the odd-looking podium (1:41:67).
The International Ski Federation uses hundredths of a second to officially clock the races, and that’s the rule used on Wednesday during the improbable tie. However, had the event been timed in thousandths of a second, only one winner would have been crowned.
But in a sport like downhill, many factors can affect the outcome of a race, and going that small when measuring could alter the final results.
Bottom line, as an NFL referee would say: “The rule on the field stands.”
And the co-winners didn’t seem to mind at all.
“I was just happy to see number one. The rest was not important," said Maze. "I thought I lost too much time up there and it couldn't be enough."
"It's better to be two on top than one to be 1/100th behind. Two happy faces."
It was Maze's third Olympic medal – she won two silvers in 2010 at the Vancouver Games.
The 30-year-old's win also gives Slovenia its first Winter Olympic gold.
For Gisin, it was time for redemption as the 28-year-old crashed during her final run four years ago in Vancouver.
And the Swiss underdog delivered, shocking more than one with the upset win. She had only won twice before.
One of those two previous victories was also a tie. She shared a win with Swedish veteran Anja Paerson in 2009.
"I looked away, and then I looked up. And then I was like zero? Zero means we're good!," she said.
(With files from Reuters and The Associated Press)