Maria Riesch wins Germany′s fourth gold after 12-year Alpine drought | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 19.02.2010
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Maria Riesch wins Germany's fourth gold after 12-year Alpine drought

Maria Riesch claimed victory in the women's super combined Alpine skiing event, as her main rival fell in the last slalom section. It's the first gold medal Germany has won in an Alpine skiing discipline since 1998.

Maria Riesch, airborne, on the downhill course.

Riesch is Germany's first Alpine skiing medalist of the century

Maria Riesch, 25, got revenge over her American friend and rival Lindsey Vonn on Thursday, winning the women's super combined gold.

Riesch finished a disappointing eighth in the women's downhill the day before, with Vonn grabbing gold. But the tables turned in the super combined event. Vonn - the last to take to the piste as the event's overall leader - fell midway through her final run, meaning that Riesch's time was sufficient for gold.

"It's incredible, you always try to have positive thoughts and believe you can come back strong," Riesch told reporters after the event.

"I was not so nervous and that was the key … It was a course to attack because it was not so difficult, and the coach just told us to attack, to give it full gas."

Maria Riesch reacts to her victory.

Riesch's disappointment in the downhill was forgotten on Thursday

Riesch's gold medal is the first won by a German Alpine skier at the Winter Olympics since Katja Seizinger and Hilde Gerg won three titles between them at the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan.

Friendly rivalry

American Julia Mancuso grabbed silver, with Swedish skier Anja Paerson - who nearly skipped the competition after a spectacular crash in Wednesday's downhill event - rounding off the podium.

US skier Lindsey Vonn (left), and Maria Riesch.

Vonn and Riesch are friends off the slopes

Favorite Lindsey Vonn, a close personal friend of Riesch's who often spends Christmas with her, snagged a gate in the final slalom leg, lost a ski and slid out. She had been the fastest of all in the earlier rounds.

"I'm disappointed, but I went down fighting," said Vonn. "Maria [Riesch] and Julia [Mancuso] put in good runs, so I knew I had to put in my all. I tried as hard as I could, it just didn't go my way."

Riesch, meanwhile, picks up her first-ever Olympic medal, although she already has a World Championship gold in the slalom and 14 World Cup race victories to her name.

Still active in the summer months when the pistes have no snow, the German skiing star is also a nationally ranked tennis placer and cyclist.

With four gold, four silver and three bronze medals so far, Germany currently sits second in the Vancouver medal table, behind the United States.

Editor: Holly Fox

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