Slovak skier Petra Vlhova is the Olympic champion in the women’s slalom. She won Slovakia’s first ever Olympic gold medal in an alpine skiing event on Wednesday. It is also country’s first medal at the ongoing Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
Vlhova took the podium following her phenomenal win in the second run of the women’s slalom race after ending 8th in the first. Matej Gemza, the Olympic champion’s Slovak coach, said the whole team had been helping Petra to cheer up and calm down after her disappointing first run.
„It wasn’t easy for her, she was struggling. I don’t know what the problem was in the first run, she didn’t let loose, she simply didn’t have her usual drive. But she finally managed, and it’s great.“
After the first run, Petra Vlhova suggested she was over-motivated and that’s why it didn’t work out. Reuters quoted her coach Mauro Pini saying that he had urged Vlhova “to leave everything on the snow in her second run after she trailed first-leg leader Lena Duerr by 0.72 seconds.”
The Slovak skier finished first by the narrowest margin, beating Austria’s Katharina Liensberger by only 0.08 seconds and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener by 0.12 seconds.
For public media RTVS, the Slovak champion said that the second run prepared by her coach Mauro Pini was hard, as it was structured to minimalise her loss from the first run. „After all that, I proved I’m a big fighter. I was determined, I put all of my heart into the second run and, in the end, I won the Olympic games,“ said Petra, adding that: “You have to keep on believing yourself even if others don’t believe in you anymore. Then even the impossible can come true.“
Vlhova has become only the fourth Slovak to win a medal at the Winter Olympic Games, joining the ranks of biathlete Anastasia Kuzmina with three golds and three silvers, snowboarder Radoslav Zidek winning one silver and biathlete Pavol Hurajt with one bronze.
The victory in Beijing makes Petra Vlhova the most successful Slovak skier, after having become the giant slalom world champion in 2019 and the 2021 World Cup Champion.
Source: RSI, RTVS, Reuters