Jasmine Flury is surprise downhill champion at Alpine skiing worlds
Swiss Jasmine Flury‘s first top-level downhill victory came at the world championships, a stunning win from bib two, after which all of the favorites couldn’t match her in Meribel, France.
Flury, a 29-year-old with one World Cup super-G victory from December 2017, prevailed by four hundredths of a second over Austrian Nina Ortlieb, who like Flury earned her first world championships medal.
Swiss Corinne Suter, the reigning Olympic and world champion, took bronze.
It was the second-closest women’s downhill in world championships history.
“It still feels like a dream,” Flury, who wiped away tears in the finish area, said nearly an hour after her run on France TV. “I don’t know what’s happening.”
Flury has one World Cup downhill podium in 51 career starts dating to 2014. This season, she ranks 11th in the world with a best finish of fourth.
Ortlieb went nearly two years between World Cup races after blowing out her right knee in a January 2021 crash, missing the 2022 Olympics before returning in December. Her father, Patrick, won the 1992 Olympic downhill in nearby Val d’Isere.
Like Ortlieb, Suter had a high-speed crash in her last race before worlds three weeks ago.
Bella Wright was the top American in 19th. It was the first time since 2001 that an American woman didn’t finish in the top 10 of a world championships downhill.
Sofia Goggia, the world’s top-ranked downhiller, was six hundredths behind Flury at the last intermediate split. But she then lost her balance and nearly crashed, skiing through a gate six gates from the finish to get disqualified.
Goggia and the other Italians raced with black armbands in memory of former teammate Elena Fanchini, who died Wednesday at age 37.
“I’m more than disappointed,” Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, told Eurosport, adding that she’s “sorrowful” not to win a medal at worlds after previously placing 11th in the super-G. “This hurts inside, and it’s painful. But at the same time, I know that sport is this way.”
Mikaela Shiffrin did not enter the downhill. She has never raced it at worlds. She is expected back for next week’s giant slalom and slalom.
Worlds continue Sunday with the men’s downhill, live on Peacock.
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