Austrian Alpine skiers won gold of Parallel Nations Team Event
Having won all preliminary races, the teams of Austria and Russia met in the grand finale of the Games to compete for the gold medals. The skiers from the Alps turned out to be stronger than the hosts. The Swedes (all four skiers study at the same university – Mittuniversitetet) beat the Czech quartet in the minor final and took the bronze.
Parallel Nations Team Event (PNTE) is a relatively new discipline in Alpine Skiing that was acknowledged as an Olympic sport only in Pyeongchang. In the course of preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019 the team competitions were first held in Funpark Bobrovy Log exactly one year ago. That test events demonstrated the whole spectacular potential of the race. So there had been a lot of expectations from today's competitions.
There were two parallel courses 422 metres long and 16 teams from different countries that put forward the strongest of their Alpine skiers (2 women and 2 men). The athletes had only one task to perform that was to win every race and add a point to their teams' score. Doing so the participants run different courses every time and the results are registered for each one of them. The timing and scoring help to define the leaders in case of an equal score of 2-2. Another aspect would be that in case the same time has been shown by two athletes both of their teams earn a point for that race. According to the rules, the losing team knocks out of the competition. After the semifinals (before the main race) it is contenders' turn to run for the bronze.
The drawing procedure (it depends on the teams' standings in the FIS ratings) determined the following participants to the 1/8 Final: Japan VS Latvia, Czech Republic VS Slovenia, Switzerland VS South Korea, Russia VS Germany, France VS Slovakia, Sweden VS Canada, Italy VS Poland, Austria VS Turkey.
Latvia did not manage to make up a complete team. So there were only three of them, and they automatically got one-nil score. The miracle did not happen and Japan won with a score 3-2 (two athletes showed the same time) and quite predictably went to the next round. The Czech Republic that won the same competitions two years before at the Universiade in Kazakhstan got ahead of Slovenia (3-1). The team of Switzerland did not do without surprising turns (the bronze medalist of the Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019 in Giant Slalom lost his race) but eventually beat Korea (3-2). The Russians (Krokhina, Vorobev, Tkachenko and Alekhin) confidently defeated Germany (4-0). Among the other qualifying pairs there were the French (3-1), the Swedes (4-0), the Italians (2-2), and the Austrians (4-0).
The quarterfinal stage brought another victory to the Czech athletes, who won over the students from Japan. The Russian athletes got to the semi-finals, as they were able to beat the ambitious Swedes (3-1). The teams of Sweden and France shared the score (2-2), and the Scandinavian athletes could go further, as they won by time. The Austrians confirmed their high status and did not leave the Polish athletes any chance (4-0).
Semifinal 1. As it happened two years ago the national Russian team met with the Czech athletes in the semi-final. In Almaty, the Czechs won the round and became the Universiade winners. Today the Russians took a convincing revenge for the defeat winning three of four races (for example, Ekaterina Tkachenko overtook Veronica Kamkova by only one hundredth of a second).
Semi-final 2. In the other tournament standings a sensation might have happened. The Austrians scored with a draw in a duel against the Swedes. And it was the best time that helped the Austrians to get into the final. It is time to reveal the opponents of Russia in the following struggle for the gold medal: Jessica Gfrerer (two-time winner of the Winter Universiade 2019 in Alpine Skiing Combined and Super Giant Slalom), Richard Leitgeb (the gold medalist of the Universiade 2017 in Slalom), Denise Dingsleder (the bronze medalist of the Games in Alpine Skiing Combined), and Julian Kienreich.
The small final. In a consistent fight for the third place the Swedes were faster (3-1). Agnes Dahlin, Philip Steinvall, Louise Jansson and Jacob Persson were excited about the bronze medals at the finish.
Agnes Dahlin expressed common delight: 'I am very happy to share the joy with my partners. It is better than success in individual qualification. Our entire team, all four people represent one university, and I am very glad that we all train and perform together. By the way, in Krasnoyarsk with such strong support from the fans I personally feel at home, and it helps to go faster.'
The big final. As it turned out, the Russians did not have enough strength for the big final. Sophia Krokhina lost to Jessica Gfrerer (+0.34), Denis Vorobev hesitated at the start and also lost his race to Richard Leitgeb (+0.60), and Ekaterina Tkachenko noticeably lagged behind Denise Dingsleder (+0.32). Nikita Alekhin's victory over Julian Kinreich (-0.31) could no longer influence the situation. The Alpine skiers from Austria became the winners (3-1), Russia took the silver.
After the finish Nikita Alekhin (Russia) said that he was glad to win silver anyway: 'I am really satisfied with the result. We did a good job together. I can say that we did our best.'
Richard Leitgeb (Austria) said he was not going to stop there: "It is the third Universiade for me, I am the oldest in our team and, probably, the most experienced. Our team has been refreshed, some young guys have joined the team. I felt the support, everything was great, and I am satisfied with the result. In two days I will perform in Slalom and I'll try to do my best.
Alpine Skiing. Parallel Nations Team Event.
Jessica Gfrerer (University of Salzburg)
Richard Leitgeb (University of Salzburg)
Denise Dingsleder (University of Innsbruck)
Julian Kenreich (University of Innsbruck)
Sofia Krokhina (Russian State University for Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism)
Denis Vorobev (Smolensk State Academy of Physical Education, Sports and Tourism (Institute)
Ekaterina Tkachenko (University of Maribor)
Nikita Alekhin (Russian State University for Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism)