The 2018 Winter Olympics are upon us with the first event being held on today! In this blog I’ll cover off some of my medal predictions in the Alpine ski events.
Alpine Ski Racing Predictions
There has been a lot of press around the Russian team being banned due to the Sochi doping scandal. Although this is a welcome punishment by the IOC, it’s unlikely to affect the Alpine medal results. Aleksandr Khoroshilov took podiums in the slalom events in Kitzbuhel and Schladming last season, but has yet to break in to the top 10 this season.
Slalom & GS
It would be a brave man to bet against the Austrian Marcel Hirscher in the Slalom event in Korea. Hirscher has won an incredible 6 of the 8 World Cup Slalom races this season, and is in exuberant form. His main contender is the young Norwegian, Henrik Kristofferson, who has made every podium in World Cup events thus far. The 23 yr old finished second to Hirscher in the 2017 World Cup Season.
Hirscher is also my favourite for the GS. A similar story to Slalom, the Austrian has won 4 in 5 GS World Cup events and made the podium in every event. The only men who have got close to Hirscher are Kristofferson and Frenchman Pinturault. If anything, I am more confident Hirscher will take gold in GS than in SL.
Mikaela Shiffrin is a no brainer for the Ladies Slalom. The 23yr old is current World Champion and won 7 out of 8 events this season. No competitors getting close to her top performances. French veteran racer, Tess Worley, is my tip for the GS. She has 4 podiums in 7 events, and is no doubt taking momentum from winning in the most recent event in Switzerland.
Super G & Downhill
The Norwegians and Austrian have been battling out the Super G title this season. I’m predicting the win will come from one of those nations in the shape of Lund Svindal, Jansrudd (Norwegians), Reichelt and Mayer (Austrians). My bet will be on the veteran Matthias Mayer. It will be the Austrians 5th Olympics and he took the Gold in the Sochi Olympics in the Downhill.
Mayer is also in contention for the Downhill alongside Beat Fuez and Aksel Lund Svindal. The downhill has been wide open this season so it has been really difficult to pick a man. My money is going on Norwegian, Kjetil Jansrudd who has been skiing well in the DH Training runs in PyeongChang.
In the Ladies events it is really difficult to look past Lindsey Vonn. The American has recently won her 80th World Cup event in all disciplines, the 2nd highest of all time (I.Stenmark at 86). She has back to back Downhill wins in the lead up to the Olympics and I can only see the Italian Sophia Goggia being able to challenge.
Vonn has been going well in the Super G too this season, but the in form skier is Lara Gut from Switzerland. The Swiss skier has been on the podium for the last 3 World Cup events and is in great form. Gut is my pick of the bunch.
The Super Combined is always a difficult result to call. Competitors run 1 DH course followed by a SL course and tests technical and speed skills. Results can be affected by the set ups of the 2 courses; which can make it difficult to predict, but I am basing my prediction on skiers who are strong, all rounders (a small list!).
For the Men, my pick is Alexis Pinturault. Bronze medalist in the GS from Sochi, the Frenchman has had great results across multiple disciplines this season. Podium positions in GS and top 10 results in Slalom and Super G, means all eyes will be on this man in Korea.
I can’t look past Shiffren for the Ladies Combined events. No one has come close to her in SL this year and the American made the podium at the DH event in Cortina in January. She could win the combined event with a huge margin if she can pull of a DH performance like Cortina.
In a sport where hundredths of a second can be the difference between winning and loosing, it is always a challenge to pick a winner! We will have to watch to find out who takes the gold.