River and Aline dominate Alpine skiing scene

Picture by Arnt Folvik YIS/IOC

The winners of three titles and four medals respectively, the USA’s River Radamus and Switzerland’s Aline Danioth were the stars of the Lillehammer 2016 Alpine skiing competitions in Hafjell, which came to an exciting conclusion with the fast-paced parallel mixed team event.

USA’s River Radamus and Switzerland’s Aline Danioth reigned supreme in the Alpine skiing events in Hafjell. The American skier pocketed more gold medals than any other athlete at Lillehammer 2016,winning the Alpine combined, super-G and the giant slalom, while Aline was one of just two athletes to win four medals: ,golds in the Alpine combined and ,the slalom and bronzes in the super-G and giant slalom.

River Radamus © Simon Bruty for YIS/IOC

The only blemishes on a near-perfect week for River, who said he learned to ski before he could walk, came when he skied out in the first leg of the slalom and then suffered early elimination with the USA in the parallel mixed team event.

“I didn’t think I would be able to perform the way I have over the Games,” he said. “I’ve had a good run in Lillehammer, so I can’t be disappointed with my slalom fall. I wasn’t even favourite on a couple of these events and the competition has been fierce throughout the Games.

“I had a lot of trust in how I was skiing coming here, and my coaches were excited by my form. We just put trust in what I could do. You think you’d get used to winning gold medals, but for me the third one (giant slalom) was the most emotional.”

Manuel Traninger © Simon Bruty for YIS/IOC

The slalom gold went to Austria’s Manuel Traninger, who completed a full set of medals, having also won bronze in the super-G and silver in the combined. Italy’s Pietro Canzio also excelled on the snow in Lillehammer, claiming silver in the super-G and bronze in the combined.

Pietro Canzio  © Arnt Folvik for YIS/IOC

Once in a lifetime

In the women’s competitions, meanwhile, the gold medals were shared among three skiers. Aside from Aline in the combined and the slalom, Austria’s Nadine Fest prevailed in the super-G and Switzerland’s Mélanie Meillard, who finished second to her compatriot in the combined, took the giant slalom title.

Mélanie Meillard© Simon Bruty for YIS/IOC

A medallist in every individual ladies’ event, Aline had this to say after her slalom win: “It’s a special event. I can only compete in the Youth Olympic Games once in my life, so to win four medals is so cool. I would never have believed I could win four medals. Even for one everything needs to come together. I think that once you’ve won one, everything gets easier. But today I was really nervous.”

Aline Danioth© Arnt Folvik for YIS/IOC

Praising Aline and Mélanie for their performances, Swiss head coach Beat Tschuor said: “These two girls are very strong. It is a good sign. Aline has pretty high goals. That is the point. She will realise what she did in the next few hours. They are both really on the way to good things. We have good talent.

Germany win the day

Taking place on the penultimate day of Lillehammer 2016, the parallel mixed team event pitched two-athlete NOCs – one man, one woman – against each other in a knockout slalom format.

Lucia Rispler GER (blue gates) and Riikka Honkanen FIN (red gates) © Simon Bruty for YIS/IOC

The final saw German duo Jonas Stockinger and Lucia Rispler take on Russia’s Anastasiia Silanteva and the in-form Aleksey Konkov, who had won all his races to that point and kicked off the final by beating Jonas in the opening run. Lucia got the better of Anastasiia to level it up at 1-1 before Jonas avenged his earlier defeat to Aleksey to seal a 3-1 win for Germany. Finland beat Canada by the same scoreline to complete the podium.

Prevented from taking part in the giant slalom after crashing and injuring himself in the super-G, Jonas was delighted to have a gold medal to show for his efforts in Norway: “I actually [shouldn’t have] raced today, but I had to. It was very, very cool. We gave it our best and we won.”