Suter ensures Swiss women's dominance with world downhill gold

Luke PHILLIPS
·3-min read

Corinne Suter upstaged Swiss teammate Lara Gut-Behrami to win the downhill gold at the world ski championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo on Saturday.

Gut-Behrami had beaten Suter into silver in winning Thursday's super-G, but she was powerless in the face of the latter's display down the 2.7km-long Olympia delle Tofana course in brilliant sunshine.

Suter, wearing bib number seven, clocked 1min 34.27sec, finishing 0.20sec ahead of Germany's Kira Weidle, with Gut-Behrami rounding out the podium in third (+0.37), her seventh world championship medal.

"My run was really good. I did what I wanted, what I needed to give me the space and take the speed with me. I am super happy," said Suter.

"I tried to attack more and I just skied with my heart. I felt really good in the morning with my team."

Weidle, who had notched up just two third places in her five seasons on the World Cup circuit, called her silver "unbelievable, really nice and surprising".

"I was hoping for a medal and it was my biggest goal today and while I was racing I really felt good, no big mistakes, so I knew I could be fast," said the 24-year-old German.

Gut-Behrami said she felt "great" with her consistency in helping her to bag bronze.

"It was a tight race today, they were really, really close behind me," the 29-year-old said.

"It was not a perfect run. I made a few mistakes so I'm just glad to be on the podium.

"I did a big mistake at the second split and I always knew you could win a lot of time or lose a lot of time and today Corinne won a lot of time and I lost a lot of time."

Gut-Behrami said Suter's gold was "well-deserved": "She had an amazing run and she’s one of the best skiers in downhill."

- Dream on two skis -

"This is a dream on two skis!" bellowed the on-slope commentators inbetween piped-in airhorns and dance music as Suter purred down the course.

Hitting motorway-cruising speeds of 120km/h (75 mph), Suter laid down a near faultless run, while a host of rivals paid a costly price for the smallest of mistakes.

Gut-Behrami had led on the split times all the way down the piste, but inexplicably lost valuable tenths of a second in the final stretch.

Suter, winner of the World Cup downhill crystal globe last season, also claimed silver in the blue riband event at the Are world champs in 2019.

Two-time defending world champion Ilka Stuhec also looked to be pushing for at least a podium, the Slovenian overcoming an ankle injury in her bid for a third gold, but saying goodbye to that thought when she overcompensated on one turn halfway down the course.

There was also more frustration for reigning Olympic super-G champion Ester Ledecka, who made history in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games by also winning gold in a snowboarding event.

The Czech code-hopper eventually finished fourth, at 0.44sec, as she also did in the super-G.

American Breezy Johnson failed to capitalise on her World Cup form, which had seen her nail four consecutive third-place downhill spots.

She made an error high up the course and despite her valiant efforts to make up for it, could only come in ninth (+0.90) as the top 10 racers all came within a second of Suter's winning time.

lp/iwd