Gold for Canada ’s Laurence St. Germain While USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Silver in Women’s Slalom at 2023 World Championships

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Laurence St. Germain
Jubilant Canadian Laurence St. Germain after her winning second run in Slalom | Picture: FIS Instagram Page

The favorite for today’s race was, hands down, Mikaela Shiffrin, who has won a staggering 52 World Cup Slalom races. However, the surprise victory went to a relatively unknown name, Canada’s Laurence St. Germain, who has never podiumed at a big race, let alone won first place. But today, the Canadian skier stunned the world by beating the most successful Slalom skier in the world, Mikaela Shiffrin.

After the first run, Mikaela Shiffrin was in the lead 0.19 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener and 0.61 seconds ahead of the Canadian. Germany’s Lena Dürr finished in fourth, and Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova was close behind her in fifth place.

The Slalom event consists of two runs, and the combined time of both runs counts, so there was still some wriggle room in the top 5. The field on Saturday consisted of 119 starters but only the top 60 from the first run qualified for a second run. The second run is held in reverse order for the top 30 finishers, while places 31-60 ski in qualifying order.

Typically the second run is slower as the snow softens over the day and becomes more rutted, but today the second run was about 3-5 seconds faster, leaving a lot of opportunities for a shake-up. For example, Norway’s Mina Fuerst Holtman, who had placed 10th in the first run, catapulted herself into the lead before the top 5 were about to start their second run. Petra Vlhova could not beat the Norwegian’s combined time. Next up was Lena Dürr, who managed to finish just 0.02 seconds faster than Holtman taking the lead, but with the top three skiers left, it was possible the German skier might have to settle once again for fourth.

Laurence St. Germain put down a smashing run, finishing 0.69 seconds ahead of the German, leaving Dürr nervous about missing out on the podium as she had at the Olympics. Second-placed Wendy Holdener was up next, and the Swiss was putting down a fantastic run, looking to best the Canadian, but the Swiss misjudged her turns on the lower part of the course, getting a ski either side of the pole, which instantly disqualified her, devastatingly ending her hunt for Gold. It meant a guaranteed podium for Dürr and St. Germain. Then Mikaela Shiffrin went into the starting gates. Shiffrin struggled on the top section of the run, not finding her usual rhythm, costing her valuable time, and finishing 0.57 seconds behind the Canadian.

Slalom Podium
2023 World Championship Slalom Podium: 1st Laurence St. Germain, 2nd Mikaela Shiffrin, 3rd Lena Dürr | Picture: FIS Instagram Page

Laurence St. Germain could not believe her eyes — the Canadian was elated and could not stop smiling. Laurence had competed in two Olympics and two World Championships before but never podiumed. She has skied the World Cup circuit for eight seasons and has 13 top-ten finishes to her name, but her best-ever result was a fifth place in the Parallel Slalom in St. Moritz in 2019. Not only is it St. Germain’s first Gold medal, but it is also Canada’s first Slalom Gold in 63 years.

Paula Moltzan from Team USA did not compete due to breaking her left hand in the Team Parallel at the beginning of the week. Katie Hensien finished 26th overall, and Ava Sunshine, who had finished her first run in 43rd position, unfortunately did not manage to finish her second run.

The last event for the 2023 FIS Alpine World Championships in Courchevel and Méribél, France, will be the Men’s Slalom on Sunday.

Related Articles

Got an opinion? Let us know...