Alpine Skiing – FIS Alpine World Ski Championships – Mixed Alpine Team Event – Are, Sweden – February 12, 2019 – Gold medalists Switzerland’s Aline Danioth, Andrea Ellenberger, Wendy Holdener, Sandro Simonet, Daniel Yule and Ramon Zenhaeusern pose with their medals. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
ARE, Sweden (Reuters) – Ramon Zenhaeusern skied a superb final heat to snatch gold for Switzerland in the team event at the Alpine skiing world championships in Are, edging out Marco Schwarz of Austria in the last leg of the final.
Germany suffered heartbreak in the bronze medal battle against Italy, with Linus Strasser believing he had secured the medal for his team before being disqualified for cutting a gate with one of his skis.
Each of the 16 nations involved had a team of four skiers, two male and two female, who raced in parallel with a direct opponent, with the winner of the most heats going through to the next round and the best timings used as a tiebreaker.
Wendy Holdener won the first leg for the Swiss by a margin of 0.28 seconds ahead of Katharina Liensberger, but the Austrians struck back with Michael Matt and Katharina Truppe taking the next two legs.
Yet just as they did in the semi-finals against Germany, the Swiss came storming back through anchor-man Zenhaeusern, who held his nerve on a tricky course to beat Schwarz by just over half a second and claim the gold medal.
The clash between Switzerland and Austria was a repeat of the 2018 Olympic final in South Korea where Switzerland were crowned the first Olympic champions in the event.
Sweden’s hopes of finally winning a medal at the 2019 championships fell apart in the first leg of their quarter-final against Switzerland, with Anna Swenn-Larsson clipping a gate and allowing Holdener to cruise to victory.
That defeat brought to an end a run of five straight World Championship podium finishes in the event for Sweden.
Writing by Philip O’Connor in Stockholm; Editing by Toby Davis