Sofia Goggia, Olympic downhill champion, breaks fingers in World Cup race
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — It was a bittersweet day for the Italian ski team when Elena Curtoni and Sofia Goggia finished 1-2 in a World Cup downhill held in difficult conditions Friday but Goggia came away with two broken fingers in her left hand.
Goggia, the top downhiller on the circuit, hit her hand on the third gate of the Corviglia course.
Goggia, who won gold and silver in downhill at the last two Olympics, respectively, immediately knew something was wrong and took her glove off in the finish area before having her hand wrapped up.
The Italian team said Goggia broke her index and middle fingers and was being transported to Milan for immediate surgery with the aim of getting her back to St. Moritz by evening to race in another downhill scheduled for Saturday.
“I felt immediately after the impact that something had happened to the hand,” Goggia said. “At the finish I could hardly move it. It’s too bad, because it was a great race. I’ll do everything I can to be ready for Saturday’s downhill.”
It was a similar scenario to when Curtoni won her previous race in Cortina d’Ampezzo last season and Goggia crashed two weeks before the Beijing Olympics, injuring a ligament in her left knee and sustaining a light fracture in that leg. Goggia still managed to come back in time to to win a silver medal at the games.
“It’s too bad, because it would be great to share the celebration and anthem with her,” Curtoni said. “It seems like a curse when I win that something happens to her. I’m not doing it on purpose, I swear.”
Curtoni was the second starter and took advantage of better conditions in her run to edge Goggia by 0.29 seconds on a course that was shortened due to overnight snowfall.
The race was interrupted immediately before Goggia was due to start with the No. 10 bib after a course worker fell and had to be helped off the piste — prompting a delay of more than five minutes.
The delay meant that the ongoing snowfall covered up the racing line, while fog also moved in over the middle of the course.
Still, Goggia — who had won the opening two downhills of the season — was the only racer who came close to challenging Curtoni.
Reigning Olympic champion Corinne Suter of Switzerland finished third on home snow, 0.73 behind, and was the only racer to join Curtoni during the podium festivities with Goggia already headed away for medical exams.
Americans Breezy Johnson and Mikaela Shiffrin finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
Shiffrin, the overall World Cup leader, was racing the downhill in St. Moritz for the first time.
“That was my top form for today so I’m very happy with that,” Shiffrin said. “I felt like I didn’t risk something.”
It was the third career win for Curtoni, who finished fifth in the Beijing Olympics downhill last season.
Curtoni, who grew up in an area of northern Italy just across the border, achieved the first podium result of her career by placing third in a downhill at St. Moritz in 2016. She also finished second in a super-G in St. Moritz last season. So now three of her nine career podium results have come at the Swiss resort.
“I really like it here,” Curtoni said. “My original home is right behind this mountain.”
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