Marie-Michèle Gagnon's 1st event has medal potential
Maria Hoefl-Riesch looks to repeat as champ
Marie-Michèle Gagnon will try to become just the sixth Canadian woman ever to win an Olympic alpine medal when they are handed out in super-combined on Monday in Sochi.
Canadian women account for eight of the country’s 10 historic medals in alpine, with Nancy Greene (gold, silver) and Karen Percy (a pair of bronze) each winning two medals.
Gagnon can become the first Canadian woman to climb the Olympic podium in the sport since Kerrin Lee-Gartner won downhill gold at the 1992 Albertville Games.
Gagnon has amassed nine top 10 results spread out over slalom, giant slalom and super-G events.
None was better than a Jan. 12 victory in the super-combined, which gave the Lac-Etchemin, Que., native a first World Cup win.
It should be noted that Gagnon's victory that day was comprised of runs in the slalom and super-G. The super-combined taking place in Sochi will consist of a downhill (shorter than a typical World Cup downhill), then slalom.
Gagnon typically doesn’t enter downhill events, although she managed to earn points in the discipline in a Jan. 11 race.
Vancouver Olympics bronze medal winner Anja Paerson of Sweden has retired, but there’s no reason to expect the other four skiers from that 2010 race’s top five don’t have a shot at the podium.
Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany is looking to repeat as the super-combined winner, which would give her three career Olympic gold medals.
Julia Mancuso won silver in the Vancouver race. The American has shown the ability to rise up for the big events regardless of her form heading in, evident from her three career Olympic medals.
Kathrin Zettel and Tina Maze rounded out the top five in Vancouver.
Zettel, Nicole Hosp, Michaela Kirchgasser, Anna Fenninger and Liz Goergl are all experienced in super-combi, making an Austrian sweep of the event not inconceivable.
For her part, Maze had one of the most dominant seasons ever in 2012-13. She won a super-combi silver medal at the world championships. The Slovenian is looking for her first Olympic gold medal, after earning a pair of silvers in Vancouver.
The next women’s event is the downhill on Wednesday.
Olympic alpine skiing schedule:
- Monday, Feb. 10: Women's super-combined
- Wednesday, Feb. 12: Women's downhill
- Friday, Feb. 14: Men's super-combined
- Saturday, Feb. 15: Women's super-G
- Sunday, Feb. 16: Men's super-G
- Tuesday, Feb. 18: Women's giant slalom
- Wednesday, Feb. 19: Men's giant slalom
- Friday, Feb. 21: Women's slalom
- Saturday, Feb. 22: Men's slalom