Swedes deny the Swiss to rule the slalom slopes
LAUSANNE, Jan 14 – After six and a half hours of action and 254 slalom runs, Adam Hofstedt and Emma Sahlin kept it simple on Tuesday by topping the men’s and women’s slalom podiums for Sweden.
The pair completed the blue-and-yellow takeover at the Les Diablerets Alpine Centre in style, Hofstedt winning by 1.32 seconds and Sahlin being one of three Swedes in the top five.
Hofstedt (above) delighted in watching his teammate secure a first women’s Alpine skiing gold of the Games but then realised he still had a job to do.
“I supported Emma but then when I put my skis on for the second run I felt really nervous,” Hofstedt said.
He led by 0.73 seconds after the first run and thankfully knew what do to calm his mind.
“I did some deep breathing and thought about my technique,” he said. “My biggest problem in slalom is my skis getting too wide so I had that one thought the whole way coming down.”
It did the trick. The Swede finished in a combined 1 minute, 16.10 seconds ahead of Luc Roduit (SUI) in silver, with Italian Edoardo Saracco taking bronze.
“It’s fun to change the colour of the medal,” said Roduit who won bronze in the Super-G and giant slalom.
It was the fourth medal of the Games for the Swiss men’s Alpine skiing squad, and Roduit revealed the secret to their success.
“Our special race prep is playing Call of Duty on our phones,” Roduit said. “All three of us play together before every race.”
For bronze medal winner Saracco, the key to success was more straightforward.
“I can call her now and tell her she was good but I am better,” the Italian said, referring to his sister Carlotta Saracco who came fifth in the women’s slalom at the Lillehammer 2016 YOG.
With his sister competing elsewhere and his father the coach of the Italian men’s World Cup squad, Saracco’s family was not in Lausanne to witness his success and the situation was nearly similar for Sahlin.
“My mum and dad came yesterday from Sweden, just for this race, very good timing,” Sahlin said with a laugh after finishing in an overall 1:29.82 to deny the Swiss women’s Alpine skiers a third gold of the Games.
“I didn’t expect gold but I was hoping.”
Lena Volken (SUI) finished second with Germany’s Lara Klein taking the bronze. After three days of watching school friend Amelie Klopfenstein (SUI) hoover up two golds and a bronze, Volken was delighted to share the glory.
“The DNF [did not finish which she got in the Super-G] was hard but we had the other Swiss medals so it was all OK,” Volken said.
Germany’s Klein was aiming for a top-10 “at best”.
“I ate lasagne for lunch,” said Klein, who was fifth fastest in the first run. “Maybe it helped.”
Perhaps the bravest performance of the day came from Croatia's Tvrtko Ljutic, who came fifth in the men's event after being unwell the night before.
“I missed out on third by just 0.13 seconds,” he said. “My performances were good because this morning I found out I have asthma. I was very sick last night.
“I was struggling with my breathing. Just one hour before the first round I found out when I went to the doctor."
By Olympic Information Service