PyeongChang 2018 silver winners Austria (Katharina Truppe, Stefan Brennsteiner, Katharina Liensberger, Johannes Strolz) came out on top of the Beijing 2022 Alpine skiing team parallel slalom event – being contested for only the second time at the Olympics.
With an exciting head-to-head format – where members of the teams of four face off side-by-side on parallel slalom courses of 21 gates – Germany finished with the silver. Norway took bronze just ahead of River Radamus and Mikaela Shiffrin in the U.S. team.
"It's unbelievable. We are a strong team today," said Austria's Truppe. "I am very happy and proud to be the gold medallist."
Her teammate Liensberger was in similar mood after the races: "Of course you know there is pressure on you to do it, not only for yourself but for your team, your nation -- Austria," she said. "It was not an easy job today that makes me even more happy."
The first medal round at the National Alpine Skiing Centre was the small final – with semi-final losers Team USA and Norway facing off for the bronze.
Norway (and their team of Thea Louise Stjernesund, Timon Haugan, Maria Therese Tviber and Fabian Wilkens Solheim) took the third spot on the podium with the better overall times after finishing tangled 2-2.
It was heartache for the Americans – and their star skier Shiffrin – who just missed out on the medals with their fourth-place finish. It was a final chance for Shiffrin to win a medal here in Beijing after a trying two weeks in which she skied out in all of her favoured individual slalom events.
"I am not disappointed," said Shiffrin after the team event. "I have had a lot of disappointing moments at these Games, today is not one of them. Today is my favourite memory.
"This was the best possible way that I could imagine ending the Games, skiing with such strong teammates," she added.
The big final – for all the marbles in the final Alpine skiing event of these Beijing Olympic Games – saw top-ranked Austria and Germany face off with some of the world’s best skiers in action on the side-by-side courses.
"I always believed in myself that I am able to compete at the highest level but three medals at the Olympics, two gold, one silver - I have never thought about that, that it would be possible for me just a year after losing the team spot," said Strolz, who won two golds here in Beijing (also in the individual Alpine combined) seven months after being dropped from the Austrian team.
"It's just a dream for me. It started really well with the combined [in which he won gold]," added Strolz. "I had a good feeling during the downhill trainings and managed to do a good slalom.
"After the gold medal in the combined it was a big relief for me because I knew whatever happens now it was not that big of a deal because I was going away with a gold medal," Strolz continued.
Austria were worthy big winners on the day. Their 2-2 score (with the fastest times acting as a tie-break) was enough to see them win out as Team Germany had to content themselves with silver on a morning of thrilling skiing that was postponed from the night before (when it was originally scheduled) due to high winds and snow.
Alpine skiing mixed team parallel slalom results
- 1 - Team Austria
- 2 - Team Germany
- 3 - Team Norway