MARIA Riesch snatched women's super-combined Olympic gold from the grasp of Lindsey Vonn – who promptly insisted she couldn’t be happier.
Vonn and Riesch are a rare breed in international sport, close rivals who are even closer friends.
Riesch was the first to congratulate Vonn following her sensational downhill victory and one day later the roles were tearfully reversed.
Vonn led by 0.33 seconds after the downhill stage but perhaps the strain of three races in just over 24 days took its toll, while the slalom discipline is the most taxing on her shin injury – which she still claims is “killing her”.
And the 25-year-old German, friend or no friend, turned the screw with a flawless slalom run, posting a combined time of 2:09.14 minutes.
Vonn, in response, made a fearless start to her slalom run but crashed out at the halfway stage to hand the German gold.
Vonn-couver was stunned but she already has the one she wanted and has three more chances to add to her medal tally.
Julia Mancuso, Vonn’s American compatriot, continued her impressive form to take her second silver of the Games while Sweden’s Anja Paerson recovered from a horror crash in the downhill to take bronze.
Meanwhile, Great Britain’s Chemmy Alcott will reset her sights on tomorrow’s Super-G after finishing 11th.
Alcott’s most encouraging performances from the World Cup season have come in the super combined discipline, with a top ten in Val d’Isere – her best rest of the year.
And while not a slalom specialist, she admitted her downhill disappointed. “It wasn’t ideal. I was trying to be aggressive but I was just catching everywhere,” she said. “I thought it was a tactic that would work on the icy course today, but after some close calls, I lost some confidence.”
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DAY EIGHT | BRITS IN ACTION
5pm (GMT): Curling: Women’s - Great Britain v Germany
7.30pm: Alpine Skiing: Men’s Giant Slalom - Dave Ryding, Andy Noble, Ed Drake
9pm: Cross Country: Women’s 15km Pursuit - Fiona Hughes
11.45pm: Skeleton: Women’s heats - Shelley Rudman, Amy Williams
12.45am: Figure Skating: Ice Dance Complusory - Jon and Sinead Kerr, Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland
2.20am: Skeleton: Men’s heats - Kristan Bromley, Adam Pengilly
5pm: Curling: Women’s - Great Britain v Japan