Swiss star Gut bumped to third in ski world champs

Austrian Nicole Schmidhofer pulled off a shock victory in the women's super-G at the World Ski Championships on Tuesday as American star Lindsey Vonn failed to finish and Swiss favourite Lara Gut came third.

Swiss star Gut bumped to third in ski world champs
Photo: Dimitar Dilkhoff/AFP
Schmidhofer, with just two World Cup podiums in eight seasons, clocked 1min 21.34sec down the Corviglia piste in cold, overcast conditions in St Moritz, touching 60kph in little more than three seconds after leaving the start gate and hitting top speeds of 100kph.
Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather claimed silver at 0.33sec, with Gut claiming bronze — her fifth world medal after three previous silvers and a bronze — a further three-hundredths adrift.
Gut was left licking her wounds somewhat in third, with many backing the Swiss star to have bagged a first world gold.
“It's cool to have a medal, you come to the world champs to win medals,” she said.
“In Schladming (worlds in 2013) I had a medal in the first race, it's a good way to start a world champs at home.
“It's also my first run since my crash last week so I'm just happy I could still ski!”
Gut predicted the course would only improve ahead of Friday's alpine combined and Sunday's blue riband downhill.
“The track is going to get harder for the next races,” she said.
“Next week will be even better.”
The 27-year-old Schmidhofer, whose best previous world performance was fourth in the 2015 Beaver Creek downhill, could barely believe her luck when she streaked through the finish line ahead of Weirather before watching Vonn badly miss her line and ski out halfway down the course.
“I stayed on my feet so that was the most important thing,” said Vonn, coming back from a broken arm that leaves her hand without total grip.
“I'm definitely disappointed about today. I lost my pole and lost my concentration for a minute.
“I tried to go too straight to make up for the time I'd lost — that was a bad tactic as I went over the roll and had no chance to make the gate.” 
Vonn admitted that the lack of grip in her hand meant for drastic measures ahead of Sunday's downhill.
“Going forward, I'm just going to have to duct-tape my hand to my pole because I can't afford to lose it again,” she said, playing down any concerns that she had been nervous.
“I felt good and I felt confident in the start. I wasn't nervous. I was ready and I attacked.
“Sometimes it just doesn't work, that's ski racing and I can't let it get me down.
“I just have to keep focusing on tomorrow and try to build my confidence and try to get the timings for the downhill right.
“I think I'll be in good shape for Sunday.”
After Vonn's departure, threats still remained for Schmidhofer in the form of Germany's giant slalom specialist Viktoria Rebensburg and Austrian Anna Veith, the reigning Olympic and world champion who missed last season through injury.
Rebensburg eventually came fourth, at 0.53sec, while Veith bombed out after badly negotiating a cut-up part of the slope, leaving Schmidhofer to breathe a huge sigh of relief in the finish area.

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Swiss skier Gut: ‘I’m not in a hurry, I want to come back strong’

Swiss alpine skiing star Lara Gut says she found balance and made peace with herself during the latest lengthy lay off in her injury-blighted career.

Swiss skier Gut: 'I'm not in a hurry, I want to come back strong'
Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP
The 26-year-old was the poster girl for the 2017 world championships, but she badly damaged knee ligaments in Saint-Moritz in February as her only reward was a bronze in the super-G.
“I learned the importance of being at peace with oneself during those six months,” she told a press conference on Tuesday after starting training in early September.
“It's always been my greatest challenge finding a balance between what I have to do and what is good for me,” said Gut, who missed the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver after a dislocated hip.
If fit, all rounder Gut would be a favourite to finally clinch a gold medal at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games in February.
“This winter I'll take more breaks and find more space for myself,” promised Gut, who admitted that she was unhappy before her latest injury.
“I did everything I could as an athlete, but not enough for me as a person.”
Gut though will skip the season-opening giant slalom on October 28th at Soelden, an event she won last year, delaying her return until late November when the World Cup heads to North America.
“Soelden is special. Normally I ski already in July. I'm not in a hurry, I want to come back strong,” said Gut, who will look to wrest back her title from Amercian sensation Mikaela Shiffrin.