Having battled for slalom supremacy with Mikaela Shiffrin in recent years, Petra Vlhova made her first trip to the Olympic podium a winning one at Beijing 2022.
The Slovakian skier gave notice of her talent when she won gold at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
She later reflected, "That was a competition that gave me a lot of experience. When I won gold in slalom, that was when my career, everything started."
Vlhova made her full Olympic debut at Sochi 2014 aged 18, finishing 24th in the giant slalom and 19th in the slalom. A week later, she took the junior slalom world title on home snow in Jasna.
Born exactly three months after Shiffin, Vlhova did not enjoy the same success as her American contemporary early in her career.
And it was not until the 2015/16 season that the tall Slovak started to make her presence felt at the highest. Her first World Cup top-10 finish, a seventh place in the Aspen (USA) slalom, came at the end of November 2015. And two weeks later came her first win at Are (SWE).
“"I gave everything I had and, at the end, I am Olympic champion."”
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