Bidding for skiing’s Olympic top prize would be the ‘biggest feeling in the world’
At the famous Swiss resort of Verbier, skiers are expected to have largely carefree weekends in the week before the women’s alpine skiing super-G at the Olympics, with a predicted surplus of enthusiasm for the event, known as the women’s downhill.
The men’s downhill at the Pyeongchang Games is on 3 February but most of the world’s top 10 female racers will be chasing the super-G crown which they have won five times in the past eight years.
That makes it a demanding competition for the women. Asher Eddington is no slouch and already four-time world champion, but it will be Kim Lamden, Anna Veith and Mikaela Shiffrin who have been identified as the contenders for gold. In 2014 in Sochi, Shiffrin won gold in both the downhill and super-G but could not contend for a title in the two events.
Of the 17 women in contention, none have never won the combined event but there is no shortage of international experience.
“It’s going to be quite an emotional thing,” Eddington said. “Not that I am in there. Everyone is feeling very personal and our emotions are going to be high during the weekend.”
The world championships begin in Switzerland on 24 January, and in some ways it is the start of the ski season for the athletes, because they will have to wait until next February to see their feat repeated at the Olympics.
“I think it’s not the biggest memory but it will certainly be the biggest feeling in the world,” Eddington said. “That will be my one memory and hopefully like me, most of the others will have a really fantastic journey going on after the championship.”
The men’s super-G is on 12 February in South Korea and before that the men’s downhill on 14 February – with Aksel Lund Svindal aiming to follow up his gold in Sochi.
With World Cup victory in 2014 for Bode Miller and a bronze in the combined in 2011 for Ted Ligety, the US have the upper hand in men’s competition, but Eddington said he did not expect the coach is US skier Ted Ligety to get beaten by the co-favorite, Ligety, who is ranked No1 in the World Cup.
“He could beat a lot of us,” he said. “But we don’t expect that. Ted is a bit different from Bode.”
Eddington, who competes in downhill, super-G and combined, has one of the largest worlds on his list of achievements and although there is no super-G for men on the Pyeongchang program, he might still be out for gold. “I am very realistic and ambitious but also in my head realistic and ambitious,” he said.