Gut leads new generation of winners

Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:46pm EST
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By Manuele Lang

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - Lara Gut and Mikaela Shiffrin have rejuvenated the Alpine skiing World Cup this winter and are set to make life difficult for more established rivals ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

Switzerland's Gut, 22, has won all three of her races to date this season in Soelden and Beaver Creek while U.S. skier Shiffrin, 19, won the only slalom so far in the Finnish resort of Levi.

A teenage sensation when she took two silver medals at the world championships in Val d'Isere in 2009, Gut is unbeaten in three disciplines - the giant slalom in Soelden, and both downhill and super-G in Colorado on Friday and Saturday.

Her perfect start mirrors that of Tina Maze last season, with the Slovenian going on to win the overall World Cup title and break the 2,000 points barrier for the first time.

The extrovert blonde from the Italian-speaking Swiss canton of Ticino, who speaks fluently to journalists in four languages, was reluctant to talk about herself in the same breath as past greats however.

"Yes it's cool. Three victories in three events. I don't know if there is a special meaning. I just trained so hard in the last few years. It's just working well at the moment," she said.

"If I start to think about what Tina did, or (American) Bode (Miller), who won in every discipline in a month...I think that I still have to train a lot to ski like them," she said.

Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather, 24, who came second in the first downhill of the winter on Friday, has also provided a fresh face.   Continued...

Lara Gut of Switzerland celebrates in the finish area after winning the women's World Cup Super-G ski race in Beaver Creek, Colorado, November 30, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking