Road To The Olympic Games

Alpine Skiing

Corinne Suter wins women's downhill title at world championships

Corinne Suter ended Switzerland's 32-year wait for a women's downhill world title on Saturday, winning her fourth straight medal at a major championship but the first gold. Canada's Marie-Michèle Gagnon placed 13th.

Marie-Michèle Gagnon 13th in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy; men's downhill Sunday

Switzerland's Corinne Suter, middle, celebrates with her team after winning the women's downhill race at the alpine skiing world championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, on Saturday. (Giovanni Auletta/The Associated Press)

Corinne Suter ended Switzerland's 32-year wait for a women's downhill world title on Saturday, winning her fourth straight medal at a major championship but the first gold.

Racing in sunshine under crisp blue skies, Suter mastered the Olympia delle Tofane and decided the race by using excellent gliding skills on the flat bottom section of the iconic course to post a time of one minute 34.27 seconds.

"It's for sure a huge step," Suter said from Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy about her first gold. "I am so, so happy because all the hard work in the last years paid off today."

Suter's teammate Lara Gut-Behrami led for most of her run, but two costly mistakes saw her drop to third, earning bronze in 1:34.64 after she had beaten Suter to gold in Thursday's super-G.

WATCH | Switzerland's Suter captures her 1st world title:

Switzerland's Suter captures her 1st world championship title

Sports

3 months ago
2:17
Corinne Suter of Switzerland won Saturday's world championship women's dowhill event in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy crossing the line with a time of 1:34.27. 2:17
Kira Weidle finished a career-best second for silver (1:34.47), winning the second medal for Germany this week.

Olympic super-G champion Ester Ledecka missed the podium by seven-hundredths in fourth.

Canada's Marie-Michèle Gagnon clocked 1:35.49, 1.22 seconds behind Suter for 13th place following a sixth-place performance in the super-G on Thursday.

The top favourite for gold, Sofia Goggia, missed the race after the Italian suffered a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago.

Goggia had won the last four downhills on the World Cup circuit, after Suter had triumphed in the first race of the downhill season in France in December.

Suter believed her second place in the worlds opener helped her believe she could win gold in downhill two days later.

31-year title drought for Swiss

"I started with a silver medal in super-G. That was already amazing for me. I always knew in downhill there are more chances," said Suter, who is a passionate horse rider when away from the slopes.

Suter, who won the season titles in both speed disciplines in the last World Cup season, became the first women's downhill world champion from Switzerland since Maria Walliser won in 1989.

Gut-Behrami seemed on course for her second gold medal in two days when she led Suter by more than three-tenths for most of her run.

However, she came off the race line too much on two occasions and failed to carry enough speed into the final section.

Still, the 2016 overall World Cup champion called it an "amazing day."

"The win for Corinne is well deserved. She had an amazing run and she is one of the best skiers in downhill," Gut-Behrami said.

Only 31 racers took part as some big names were sitting out the event.

Apart from Goggia, Italians Federice Brignone and Marta Bassino also didn't race, while Mikaela Shiffrin and Petra Vlhova opted to train for upcoming events.

Shiffrin was expected back in action for the combined event Monday.

The men's downhill is scheduled for Sunday.

With files from CBC Sports

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