For the first time in the 78-years history of the Winter Olympics a tie for gold has been awarded in women’s Alpine skiing.
Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland completed the run of the challenging Rosa Khutor course 1 minute, 41.57 seconds on Wednesday to share an Olympic gold medal in women’s downhill.
Everything conspired to make the incredible feat possible, Gisin — who skated early — had an agonizing wait for the best skiers who came down after her, Maze was one of the competitor.
Lara Gut earned the bronze barely a tenth of a second behind the double gold medalists, another disappointment for the Swiss skier.
Maze recognized the improbability of what she and Gisin just accomplished, “Maybe just one finger, maybe just a hand – it can change a color of a medal.”
And of course, the fact that American champion Lindsey Vonn didn’t even make it to Sochi due to injury and Julia Mancuso finished a disappointing eighth also helped.
Wednesday’s incredible event was only the eighth time that a tie for a gold medal has occurred and the first for Alpine skiing at the Winter Olympics.
“It’s even more interesting because it’s not a usual thing,” Maze said. “It’s something special.”
The two good friends have an interesting career history and in the case of Gisin, 28, she has overcome what could have easily be career ending injuries and numerous surgeries to stand on top of the Winter Olympics podium.
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This is only Gisin’s third career victory, the two previous ones have been ties as well and Maze was also involved in a three-way-tie in 2002.
At the Winter Olympics, on Wednesday, Maze appeared to have the edge at every split, but made a small mistake before the last slope and lost more time with the soft snow.
During the downhill at the Winter Games in Vancouver, Gisin’s crashed off the final jump and slid down the finish line, where she hit a bank of snow and was tossed into the air. She sustained a concussion.
This time around the new Winter Olympics gold medalist was seen crying, while talking to her grandparents on the phone.
“It was very emotional,” the Swiss said. “They did so much for me; my whole family did. This is just very nice to share it with them.”
The last tie in a Winter Olympic skiing event happened in men’s super-G at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.