FIS Alpine World Ski Championship
Foss-Solevåg wins Norway’s first slalom gold in 24 years
JO CHRISTIAN WELDINGH
On the final day of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championship in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Feb. 21, a championship that must be described as disappointing for the Norwegian alpine skiing team, Sebastian Foss-Solevåg had the best day of his career and won his first championship medal, Norway’s first slalom gold medal since 1997. Henrik Kristoffersen won the bronze.
It has been a difficult season for the Norwegian alpine skiers. The Norwegian downhill and Super-G teams are usually candidates for the podium in every event. This season, however, Kjetil Jansrud has been struggling with his form, and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde injured a major ligament in his knee in January and will not be competing until next season. The slalom and giant slalom teams have also had their share of injuries. Both Lucas Braathen and Atle Lie McGrath were injured at the time of the championship.
The women’s team has had a boost in the last couple of years and has had skiers on the podium on several occasions, but only Kajsa Vickhoff Lie, who has placed on the podium once—in the Super-G race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen less than a month ago—could be a possible medal contender, and then only if everything goes her way.
At the dawn of the championship’s final day, Team Norway had not won a single individual medal. The last time Norway failed to win an individual medal in a World Championship was in 1989 in Vail, Colo.
Foss-Solevåg was placed third after his first run (52.40), 0.16 seconds behind Austrian Adrian Pertl, who was in the lead. When it was time for his Foss-Solevåg’s second run, Kristoffersen was in the lead (52.60, 54.32, combined 1:46.94). That did not stop Foss-Solevåg. His second run was even better than his first. No one was able to best Foss-Solevåg’s runs (52.40, 54.08, 1:46.48) and the 29-year-old from Ålesund could cheer for his first ever gold medal. Pertl took silver (52.24, 54.45, 1:46.69).
Lasse Kjus won Norway’s last medal at the worlds in 1999, with wins in Super G and Giant Slalom and silver in downhill, slalom and combined. Tom Stiansen won the last Norwegian gold medal in slalom in 1997. Kristoffersen has been one of the best in the discipline for the last couple of years, but his best results are two fourth places. Foss-Solevåg has been a World Cup skier for many years but did not break through until this season when he won his first ever World Cup victory in Flachau, Austria.
In addition to Foss-Solevåg and Kristoffersen’s medals, the Norwegian team of Thea Louise Stjernesund, Foss-Solevåg, Kristina Riis-Johannessen and Fabian Wilkens Solheim won the gold in the mixed team parallel event, Norway’s first gold in the discipline.
This article originally appeared in the March 12, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.