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febbraio 18, 2017 - Red Bull

Pyeongchang: A year today

Comunicato Stampa disponibile solo in lingua originale. 

A year to the day before the Winter Games, we look at the potential stars.

A year today, the cauldron will be lit in #pyeongchang to mark the start of the XXIII Winter Olympics, the South Korean city hosting two-and-a-half weeks of action.

With the clock ticking, we look ahead to 2018 as well as back at some past Games highlights in recent history.

Skiing’s big names

Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin are currently vying to be the biggest name in women’s alpine skiing. Vonn returned to winning ways at last month’s Garmisch downhill, while Shiffrin has been virtually invincible in the slalom and currently leads the overall World Cup standings.

Both women have experienced gold in the past, Vonn clinching the downhill title in 2010 with Shiffrin, then aged just 18, sealing slalom gold four years later.

Marcel Hirscher remains the dominant force in the men’s World Cup but has, to date, failed to fully translate that to the Games. A silver medallist in the giant slalom four years ago, he will be the favourite to win gold in both giant slalom and slalom.

The new kids on the block

Few talents have made quite as much a mark so young as Kelly Sildaru.

The Estonian is just 14 years old but continues to rewrite the record books. Aged 12, she became the youngest X Games winner in slopestyle, and unsurprisingly became the youngest two-time winner in the #event a year later. This time, she has her sights set on Olympic gold.

But Sildaru is not the only first-time Olympian that will be lining up in #pyeongchang with a realistic chance of finding themselves on the top step of the podium, including 19-year-old British snowboarder Katie Ormerod.

Through the pain barrier

Such are the perils of winter sports, not every competitor will turn up in South Korea in the perfect condition.

Four years ago, snowboarder Mark McMorris lined up having barely recovered from a broken rib for his bronze, while Erik Guay did well to finish in the top 10 in the men’s skiing downhill having suffered a meniscus tear in January of that year.

But undeniably the best injury comeback in Sochi belonged to Pierre Vaultier, who finished the Games with snowboard cross gold just two months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligaments.

An Olympic farewell

Pyeongchang will be a potential farewell for many athletes across the 15 winter sports disciplines.

Petter Northug will be hoping to return to his cross-country skiing ascendancy. At the age of 31, he will be driven by having struggled for his best form four years ago in contrast to his four medals at the 2010 Games: two gold, a silver and a bronze.

At the same age, fellow cross-country skier Marcus Hellner may also be facing a final hurrah in an attempt to add to his three Olympic golds to date: two in 2010 and one last time around.

And finally, the 32-year-old speed skater Charles Hamelin has a potential throw of the Olympic dice. Like Hellner, he won two golds in Vancouver and one in Sochi.

Making amends

There will be those hoping to pick up the pieces from the events of Sochi. Anna Gasser has shown good form this year with silver at the X Games, a far cry from falling in the slopestyle final at the last Games.

Gracie Gold picked up an ice skating team bronze last time around but finished an agonising fourth place in the individual event

Thrilling finales and odd gestures

Few events were more memorable than the 2014 women’s downhill which saw the winning time of 1 minute 41.57 seconds clocked by two separate skiers.

Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin could not be separated by even a hundredth of a second at the finish line so shared gold.

No less memorable was Eva Samkova’s good luck charm in the snowboard cross. Samkova took to drawing a moustache on her upper lip for each round of #competition, apparently for good luck. Whatever the unusual thinking, it worked as she came away with the gold.

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