BEAVER Creek, Colorado (Reuters) - Anna Fenninger survived a near-wipeout late in her second run to win the women’s giant slalom title at the alpine ski world championships on Thursday while Tina Maze’s bid for history came to a halt.
Austrian Fenninger, who won gold in the Super-G and silver in the downhill, posted a combined time of two minutes, 19.16 seconds, a staggering 1.40 seconds ahead of Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg despite nearly crashing out on a turn.
Sweden’s Jessica Lindell-Vikarby took the bronze.
“It was an amazing day for me because it was a big dream for me to become world champion in (giant slalom),” Fenninger said after earning Austria’s fifth gold, and eighth medal, at the world championships.
“That I can make it this way was awesome. It was important to show my best skiing. I had a really good feeling but I never thought that I could win this race with that disadvantage.”
Fenninger, who was 0.90 seconds in front after the morning leg, stretched her overall lead with a storming run in the afternoon until she lost control on a turn, losing balance as her ski tips almost crossed.
“I was out of the course and fighting back,” said the 25-year-old Austrian, who raised her arms in a mixture of celebration and disbelief after she crossed the finish line to deafening roars from the crowd.
“It was unbelievable how that worked out for me today.”
Maze, bidding to become the second skier and first woman to collect medals in each of the five disciplines at a single world championships, finished a well-beaten fifth, 1.74 seconds behind Fenninger.
“My energies were not enough to win today or to be on the podium,” said the 31-year-old Slovenian, who had already picked up gold in the downhill and combined along with a silver in the Super-G.
American ski fans, who packed the grandstands, were left disappointed as U.S. skiers were shut out of the medals.
Lindsey Vonn, whose only medal during a disappointing world championships was a bronze in the Super-G, made her final run at Beaver Creek a storming one as she blazed down the track in the fifth best time to climb into 14th place overall.
A pedestrian morning leg had left Vonn with too much to do but her rousing performance in the afternoon brought a big smile from her boyfriend, golfer Tiger Woods, who watched from the finish area.
Editing by Frank Pingue