Italian Alpine skiing ace Sofia Goggia came within an eyeblink of the impossible and settled for the improbable in the women’s downhill, winning the silver medal just 23 days after sustaining multiple serious injuries in her left knee.
On January 23, a crash in a World Cup super-G race in Cortina in her native Italy left Goggia with a sprain, minor fracture and partial ACL tear in her left knee. She was on crutches for three days after the crash.
Yet, on Tuesday at the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center in Beijing, she briefly appeared to have locked up a second-straight Olympic gold medal in the downhill when she crossed the line in 1:32.03.
Two skiers later, though, Switzerland’s Corinne Suter bettered that time by 0.16 to win the gold, her first career Olympic medal. The result did little to dampen Goggia’s mood, with the Italian thrilled just to be back racing, let alone on the podium.
“For me the Olympic games are everything. It’s my childhood dream… it’s worth a lifetime on skis,” Goggia said in the finish area. “I gave everything to be here after Cortina.
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“I always knew in my heart that with the effort it took to come back from that crash, the race itself would be the easiest part,” Goggia said. She revealed that her first call after her run was with American Alpine great Lindsey Vonn. Goggia called herself Vonn’s “biggest fan.”
Along with Beat Feuz, Lara Gut-Behrami and Marco Odermatt, Suter became the fourth Swiss skier to win Alpine gold at the 2022 Winter Games. That ties the most Alpine skiing gold medals won by a single nation at a Winter Olympics, with three events still remaining.
Goggia’s Italian teammate, Nadia Delago, took the bronze for her first Winter Games medal as well.