The first Olympic parallel slalom — just like parallel giant slalom but slightly smaller — was as unpredictable as ever. But a solid rider, Austria’s Julia Dujmovits, came up with the clutch performance to win gold. Germany took the next two places, with Amelie Kober adding parallel slalom bronze to the parallel giant slalom silver she won in 2006.
Event: Women’s parallel slalom
Medalists: Julia Dujmovits (Austria), Anke Karstens (Germany), Amelie Kober (Germany)
SportsMyriad projections: Ekaterina Tudegesheva (Russia), Patrizia Kummer (Switzerland), Hilde-Katrine Engeli (Norway)
How U.S. fared: No entries
What happened: Qualifying tripped up all three Canadians, including contender Caroline Calve, and Norway’s Hilde-Katrine Engeli. Austrian favorite Marion Kreiner was the qualifying leader.
Kreiner easily beat world champion Ekaterina Tudegesheva in the round of 16. Another Austrian, Julia Dujmovits, took out another Russian favorite, parallel giant slalom bronze medalist Alena Zavarzina.
In fact, all three parallel giant slalom medalists went out in the round of 16. Japan’s Tomoka Takeuchi stumbled in the second run against Switzerland’s Julie Zogg, and Germany’s Amelie Kober beat Swiss gold medalist Patrizia Kummer by 0.10 seconds.
Quarterfinals: Kreiner had a mishap in the first run and was 1.25 seconds behind Italy’s Corinna Boccacini. The Austrian nearly caught her in the second run but finished 0.05 seconds behind. Another Austrian, Ina Meschik, missed out by an even smaller margin, 0.01 behind Kober. Zogg stumbled, sending Dujmovits through. Anke Karstens made it two Germans in the semifinals, rallying from a first-run deficit to beat the Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka.
Semifinals: Dujmovits built an 0.80-second lead in the first run, and Boccacini lost an edge trying to make up the gap. Kober didn’t complete the first run of the all-German semifinal, incurring a 1.5-second gap for the second run, and she came within 0.09 seconds of making it up.
Dujmovits wasn’t too much of a surprise — she’s third in World Cup parallel events, and she was second in the World Championship parallel giant slalom last year. Karstens was fifth in PGS in 2010, but she didn’t have a lot of World Cup success, placing no higher than eighth in PGS and 17th in parallel slalom this season.
Kober won the 2006 PGS silver medal and 2013 PS World Championship bronze. Boccacini is in her third Olympics but with a much thinner resume.
Finals: Kober took a solid 0.44-second lead in the first leg, enough to hold on for bronze despite a little bobble down the stretch.
Karstens surprisingly led Dujmovits by 0.72 seconds after the first leg. With four gates left, Karstens looked like she had held off the Austrian favorite. But Karstens went a little wide, and Dujmovits capitalized. She slid onto her back and raised her arms in celebration after the finish line.