PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Finally, it was an ideal day for skiing.
American Mikaela Shiffrin celebrated by using a hard-charging final run to win the women’s giant slalom Thursday. It’s the first of several Olympic titles she hopes to earn at the Pyeongchang Games.
The 22-year-old trailed by 0.20 seconds following her first run, but she powered through a bumpy course on her second run to win by 0.39 seconds. Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel won silver at Yongpyong Alpine Center while Federica Brignone of Italy got bronze.
“I don’t know when it was, at some point today after the first run I thought, like, ‘I can really win this,'” Shiffrin said. “I just tried to hang on to that feeling and then focus on my skiing a bit.
“It’s crazy. There’s so much emotion.”
The weather was nearly perfect for racing, with temperatures around 21 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-6 Celsius) and a light wind. It was a welcome break after the past few days, when three of the four opening Alpine races were postponed because of bad weather.
Shiffrin was initially expected to chase as many as five medals in Pyeongchang, though her mother said Thursday she wouldn’t compete in the super-G. The only thing that might slow her down is exhaustion, due to a compact schedule thanks to all the delays.
In the men’s downhill, Norway won the gold and silver . Aksel Lund Svindal — at 35 years old — became the oldest Olympic gold medalist in Alpine skiing by beating Kjetil Jansrud by just .12 seconds. Switzerland’s Beat Feuz earned the bronze.
CANADA EDGES U.S. IN WOMEN’S HOCKEY
Canada clinched the top spot in pool play by beating the United States 2-1 in what could be a preview of the gold-medal game.
Meghan Agosta and Sara Nurse scored for Canada and Genevieve Lacasse made 44 saves, including stopping Hilary Knight at the post with less than 90 seconds remaining.
Kendall Coyne scored for the Americans. Brianne Decker hit the post two times, including once in the final seconds of the game before the rivals ended up in a scrum. Officials reviewed the play and ruled no goal.
Canada and the United States are the only two countries to ever win Olympic gold. Canada has won the past four Olympics; the United States won in 1998.
Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot jumped from fourth place to Olympic gold in pairs figure skating after a record-setting free skate.
Savchenko and Massot scored 159.31 points in their program, which gave them 235.90 points overall. It is Germany’s first pairs gold since 1952.
China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong were the leaders coming into the day but slipped to silver after a slow start in their free skate.
Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford earned bronze.
— Pierre Vaultier of France defended his title in men’s snowboardcross . Vaultier barely qualified for the final after crashing during the semifinals but recovered to win his second Olympic gold medal. Australia’s Jarryd Hughes won silver and Spain’s Regino Hernandez got bronze. Americans Nick Baumgartner and Mick Dierdorff made the final but finished well back of the leaders.
— Norway’s Ragnhild Haga won her first gold medal in the women’s 10-kilometer freestyle , topping the field by more than 20 seconds. Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won silver for her second medal of the Pyeongchang Games. Norway’s Marit Bjoergen and Finland’s Krista Parmakoski finished tied for bronze with identical times of 25 minutes, 32.4 seconds.