Always one of the highlights of the Winter Olympic Games, Alpine Skiing will have the world holding its breath as athlete’s speed down the PyeongChang slopes.
Athletes to watch: Australia’s leading alpine skiers have had a tough run with injuries over the past twelve months but are now looking to steadily build towards the PyeongChang 2018. Greta Small is coming off an ACL tear as she aims to make it to her second Olympic Games after competing in every event in Sochi at just 18. Dominic Demschar will also be looking to return to Olympic competition after he lined up in the Giant Slalom and Slalom events on Olympic debut in Sochi. Harry Laidlaw (Innsbruck 2012), Louis Muhlen and Katie Parker (Lillehammer 2016) are all Winter Youth Olympians and will be hoping that experience sees them graduate to the pinnacle of world sport. Add to this list young guns Alec Scott and Rebecca Brown and there is plenty of healthy competition among Australia’s alpine ranks as the 2018 Winter Games draw closer.
Qualification, Nomination & Selection
Australia will be likely qualify one male and one female in Alpine Skiing at PyeongChang 2018. Qualification will be based on rankings and FIS points which will be finalised on January 21, 2018. For the full details on qualification
If an athlete has qualified then they will be eligible to be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection. For the full details on nomination to the Australian Olympic Winter Team
Once nominated the AOC’s Selection Committee will then make the final decision on the athlete’s selection to the Team for PyeongChang 2018.
Competition Format & Events
Alpine skiing involves all skiing events which occur on a downhill course and do not involve ramps or awkward bumps. The Olympic alpine competition consists of eleven events: five for women, five for men and, for the first time at the PyeongChang 2018 Games, a mixed team event. The rules are the same for all but the courses differ. Alpine racing is a beat the clock format in which a skier goes down the mountain from Point A to Point B and the fastest time wins. There is no judging involved and races are timed in hundredths of a second.
There are two 'technical' events - the slalom and the giant slalom - two 'speed' events - the downhill and super-G and one combined event.
Downhill features the longest and least winding alpine course and is marked by red flags. Each skier makes a single run down a single course and the fastest time determines the winner.
Slalom demands the sharpest turns of the alpine events and is contested on the shortest course. A skier must pass through a set number of gates which mark the course or is disqualified from the event. Each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs take place on the same day. The times are added and the fastest total time determines the winner.
Giant Slalom is a longer, faster version of the slalom and does not involve a set minimum of bends. The course is marked by alternating red and blue flags as gate markers. As in the slalom, each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs take place on the same day.The times are added, and the fastest total time determines the winner.
The Team event will feature a total of 16 teams that comprise of two males, two females and a reserve. The event adopts a parallel format, with an individual skier from one country facing another skier of the same gender from an opposing country in a head-to-head race down two identical slalom courses on which giant slalom gates are spaced 10 metres apart. The first race in each heat is between two female skiers, followed by two males and then the remaining two females and the remaining two males.
Teams score one point for a race win. If both skiers ski off or fall, the skier who has progressed further down the course is declared the winner. In the event of both teams winning two races apiece, the nation with the lowest combined time of their best man and best woman will win the heat. Teams progress in a knockout format until a race is set up for the gold and silver medals and another is set up for the bronze medal and fourth place.
Australia and Olympic Alpine Skiing
Australia has been represented by 45 Alpine Skiers at the Winter Olympics after first taking part at the 1952 Oslo Winter Games. At those Games it was Bob Arnott Bill Day and Barry Patten who flew the flag for Australia with Day’s 41st in the Giant Slalom the best result of the competition.
Four years later Australia had its first female representative when Christine Day was a part of the five-member Australian contingent that competed in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy. She lined up in the Slalom, Giant Slalom and Downhill with her 33rd in the Slalom Australia’s best result of the Alpine competion.
It took 46 years for Australia to secure its first medal in Winter Olympic Alpine Skiing. Zali Steggall remains Australia’s only Games medallist in the sport having won bronze in the Slalom event at Nagano in 1998. The medal was also Australia’s first individual Winter Olympic medal.
At the most recent Games in Sochi, Australia was represented by a team of five who were all on Olympic debut. At just 18, Greta Small lined up in all five events including Australia’s best result in Alpine competition in Sochi with a 15th place finish in the Super Combined.
Pre-PyeongChang AUS Tally
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