Slovakian slalom star Petra Vlhova executed a near-flawless second run to win the women’s slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics in dramatic comeback fashion.
Vlhova was eighth-fastest after a disappointing first run, .72 behind the pace set by Germany’s Lena Duerr, but made up for it with the fastest run of the day in her second attempt. The time of 52.09 was enough to leapfrog seven other contenders and take the gold medal that always seemed likely to wind up around her neck if not that of her rival, American Mikaela Shiffrin’s.
Shiffrin did not factor into the medal picture after skiing out of the women’s slalom in Run 1, a fate she also endured in the giant slalom two days prior.
Vlhova is the defending overall World Cup champion and current World Cup slalom leader. Her first Olympic medal is also the first by any Alpine skier from Slovakia ever.
"I gave everything I had and at the end I am Olympic champion," she said.
"It's difficult to say what it means to me right now. I have been dreaming all my life to win an Olympics or just to have medals.
"I have a lot of emotions right now, inside of me. This season I was really strong and today I gave everything," she added.
Austria’s Katharina Liensberger, with the second-fastest Run 2, took silver while Wendy Holdener, Switzerland’s flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony claimed her fourth career Olympic medal, a bronze.
Paula Moltzan finished eighth to lead all Americans in the event.
Reuters contributed to this report.