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Downhill gold for Swiss Suter

World champion Corinne Suter has lived up to her top billing by taking gold in the women’s downhill in challenging conditions at the Beijing Olympics.

The Swiss ace crossed the finish line in a time of one minute 31.87 seconds, beating Italy’s defending Olympic champion Sofia Goggia’s time by 16 hundredths of a second.

Another Italian, Nadia Delago, claimed the bronze medal.

The medal was Switzerland’s fourth gold of the Games in alpine skiing while Suter becomes the first woman since American Lindsey Vonn to simultaneously hold the Olympic and world championship downhill titles.

“It’s my biggest dream in my life, so today I don’t know what to say,” said 27-year-old Suter, who finished sixth in PyeongChang.

“In the finish I wasn’t sure if it was good or not, because sometimes I had the feeling that there was wind against me, and then with me, and also from the side.

“It was not so easy, but now I’m super happy.”

Goggia has dominated women’s downhill but partially tore a ligament in her left knee and sustained a minor fracture in a crash last month which put her Olympic campaign in doubt.

She still managed to take the lead by nearly half a second when she set off shortly before Suter before the Swiss eclipsed that mark.

“I gave everything I could – I felt like the speed was there in the upper part,” 29-year-old Goggia said.

“I’m sorry for the last part. I felt like maybe there’d been some parts of the slope I had some wind against me, but it’s something you cannot control.

“In the end I’m happy with my result, because being here at the Olympics after my crash in Cortina was not guaranteed at all.”

American favourite Mikaela Shriffrin, who did not finish her opening runs in either of her initial two events, finished in 18th place, 2.49 behind Suter with the downhill the worst of her four Olympic events.

She has the alpine combined, in which she won a 2018 Olympic silver, still to come.

Australian Greta Small’s start was put on hold for almost 15 minutes when the previous competitor Camille Cerutti from France lost control and crashed heavily into a barrier and was left screaming in pain.

With high winds whipping across the mountain and the temperature at minus five degrees Celsius, triple Olympian Small had to rug up at the starting gate.

Once Cerutti was transported from the course, 26-year-old Small got underway but found the piste, known as ‘The Rock’ in Yanqing, tough going as she clocked 1:36.53 to finish 26th.

It was a slight drop from her 20th place four years ago in PyeongChang.

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