Pyeongchang : Skier Mikaela Shiffrin opened her delayed Olympics with victory and figure skaters Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot smashed a world record to grab gold as full competition resumed on Thursday after days of wind disruption. The 22-year-old Shiffrin kicked off her bid for multiple titles at the Pyeongchang Winter Games with a storming second run in the giant slalom, ending a nervous wait after it was postponed because of high winds on Monday.
The Sochi 2014 slalom champion from America sank to her knees and dissolved in tears after her powerful descent brought her gold from Norways Ragnhild Mowinckel by 0.39 seconds.
“I dont know how to explain it. Its crazy. Theres so much emotion,” Shiffrin said. “To come to the Olympics after some tough races on the World Cup circuit and to charge like that — I risked it on the second run — its super-cool.”
Earlier, Aksel Lund Svindal, 35, became the Olympics oldest alpine ski champion in the mens downhill, with Kjetil Jansrud completing a Norwegian one-two.
Svindal, coming to the end of a stellar career, clocked 1min 40.25sec down the 3km Jeongseon course to hand Norway its first Olympic downhill gold.
“It feels pretty good, Im extremely happy,” said Svindal. “World Cup wins, Ive been there a few times and know how that feels, but this is different.”
The Germans Savchenko and Massot were in floods of tears after they won the pairs figure skating by a whisker ahead of Chinas Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, the strong favourites who missed out after Sui took a tumble.
After an error in the short programme, hopes had faded for Savchenko and Massot but they scored 159.09 points in the free dance, breaking their own world record, to pull off a fairytale victory. To roars from the crowd, French-born Massot then lifted Ukrainian-born Savchenko onto the top step of the podium. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada took bronze.
Frenchman Pierre Vaultier retained his snowboard cross title and Norways Ragnhild Haga won the womens 10km cross-country race.
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