Marie-Michèle Gagnon 10th after 1st run of women's slalom
American Mikaela Shiffrin leads field
Marie-Michèle Gagnon was the top Canadian after the first run of the women’s slalom Friday, sitting in 10th at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Gagnon, the world No. 4 in the discipline, finished her run with a time of 54.32. Fellow Canadian Brittany Phelan of Ste Agathe Des Monts, Que., making her Olympic debut at age 22, finished 3.79 back and was in 17th.
American phenom Mikaela Shiffrin navigated the difficult course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park with ease, to set the pace with a first-place time of 52.62.
The final is streaming live on CBC.ca/Olympics at 11:15 a.m. ET.
The 18-year-old executed a clean, smooth run and really got going in the latter half of the run, benefiting from her earlier start time.
Coming in to the event as the heavy favourite, Shiffrin won the World Cup title last season as a mere 17-year-old. The American is coming off a fifth-place showing in dismal conditions in the giant slalom earlier this week, a discipline she’s just added to her plate this season.
German veteran Maria Hoefl-Riesch was next fastest, sitting 0.49 seconds back. Tina Maze finished third and was 0.67 seconds behind the American.
The slushy and slow conditions progressively worsened as more and more skiers took the hill, resulting in plenty of mishaps.
The tough course, set up by Canadian coach Jim Pollock, claimed almost as many victims as starters – 23 skiers did not finish -- including a pair of Canadians.
Guelph, Ont., native Erin Mielzynski caught a tough break and lost control, straddling a gate and did not finish. Elli Terwiel, a slalom specialist from Sun Peaks, B.C., also had a disappointing DNF. The 24-year-old was making her Olympic debut.
The top 30 skiers will start from slowest to fastest to start the second run, with the times of both runs combined to determine the winner.