Alpine Skiing at PyeongChang 2018
Venues: Jeongseon Alpine Centre, Yongpyong Alpine Centre
Competition Dates: February 11-15, 17-18, 21-24 (Days 2-6, 8-9, 12-15)
Events: 11 (5 men, 5 women, 1 mixed)
In the ten individual Olympic alpine skiing events, skiers race against the clock with each event timed to the hundredth of a second (0.01). The team event pits nations head-to-head. The events can generally be divided into speed and technical categories.
Downhill involves the highest speeds and the biggest risks. It features the greatest vertical drop (up to 1100m for men and up to 800m for women) over which skiers can reach speeds up to 130 km/hr, while facing flats, jumps, shallow dips and challenging turns.
The super giant slalom (super-G for short) has a slightly lower vertical drop than the downhill, but includes more gates requiring more technical skill. The skier with the fastest time over one run is the winner.
For both of those speed events, the winner is the skier with the fastest time over a single run.
In the giant slalom, the vertical drop isn’t as big as the downhill or super-G, but there is a combination of long, medium and short turns to navigate through the gates.
The shortest alpine event is the slalom, which consists of the lowest vertical drop but the most gates, requiring mass amounts of technical skill.
For both of those technical events, skiers do two runs over different courses on the same hill, with the fastest cumulative time winning.
Alpine combined includes one run of slalom and either a shortened downhill or super-G. The skier with the fastest cumulative time after the two runs is the winner.
The newest Olympic alpine event, nation team, features two women and two men from the same country racing through giant slalom gates in a head-to-head competition. Facing a skier of the same gender from an opposing country, the winner will receive one point for their team. If at the end of the four races a heat is tied 2-2, the nation with the lowest combined time of their best man and best woman will win the heat. The event begins with 16 teams and continues through a bracket until only two remain to race for gold while the semifinal losers race for bronze.
Canadian History (Pre-PyeongChang 2018)
Canada has won 11 Olympic medals since alpine skiing debuted at Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936.
Jan Hudec was the most recent, winning super-G bronze at Sochi 2014 for Canada’s first Olympic alpine skiing medal since Edi Podivinsky won downhill bronze 20 years earlier at Lillehammer 1994. The only other Canadian man with an Olympic alpine medal is Steve Podborski, who also won downhill bronze at Lake Placid 1980.
It’s the women who have dominated Canada’s medal count in alpine skiing, starting with Lucile Wheeler who won downhill bronze at Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956. Anne Heggtveit got the first gold four years later in the slalom at Squaw Valley 1960.
Nancy Greene-Raine was Canada’s first double medallist in alpine skiing, winning giant slalom gold and slalom silver at Grenoble 1968. Karen Percy has a pair of bronze medals from Calgary 1988, in the downhill and super-G.
|Ladies' Slalom||Anne Heggtveit||Gold||Squaw Valley 1960|
|Ladies' Giant Slalom||Nancy Greene||Gold||Grenoble 1968|
|Ladies' Giant Slalom||Kathy Kreiner||Gold||Innsbruck 1976|
|Ladies' Downhill||Kerrin Lee-Gartner||Gold||Albertville 1992|
|Ladies' Slalom||Nancy Greene||Silver||Grenoble 1968|
|Ladies' Downhill||Lucille Wheeler||Bronze||Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956|
|Men's Downhill||Steve Podborski||Bronze||Lake Placid 1980|
|Ladies' Downhill||Karen Percy||Bronze||Calgary 1998|
|Ladies' Super-G||Karen Percy||Bronze||Calgary 1988|
|Men's Downhill||Edi Podivinsky||Bronze||Lillehammer 1994|
|Men's Super-G||Jan Hudec||Bronze||Sochi 2014|