Sochi, Russian Federation (4E Sports) – Slovenian speedster Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland made history Wednesday when they finished in a dead heat for the gold medal in the women’s downhill event of the Sochi Winter Games.
With Maze and Gisin submitting identical times of 1 minute, 41.57 seconds, this marked the first time that an Olympic alpine ski race had ended in a dead heat for the gold medal.
Gisin and Maze were given gold medals while Switzerland’s Lara Gut took the bronze medal after finishing just 0.10 seconds back.
“She was ahead of me (on the early splits),” Gisin said of Maze. “I knew it was going to be close. When I saw it was a tie, I thought, ‘That’s OK with me.’ “
This was the fifth medal tie overall in Olympic alpine skiing. There have been three ties for second, including the USA’s Diann Roffe Steinrotter tying Anita Wachter of Austria for the silver medal in the giant slalom in 1992.
The others were the 1998 men’s super-G (Didier Cuche and Hans Knauss) and the 1964 women’s giant slalom (the USA’s Jean Saubert and France’s Christine Goitschel). And, in the 1948 men’s downhill, two Swiss skiers tied for the bronze medal.
Ski races are timed to hundredths of a second, and the previous closest race for gold in Olympic history had been Picabo Street’s winning run in the 1998 super-G — 0.01 seconds faster than Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister.
American Julia Mancuso’s quest for history will have to wait another day as she finished eighth in the race, 0.99 seconds behind the winners.
Mancuso is eyeing to join Bode Miller atop the all-time Olympic medal chart for U.S. skiers with a fifth career medal,
“It’s really crazy,” Mancuso said of the tie. “I’m really happy for both girls. It’s an amazing show.”
Mancuso’s search for a fifth medal will have to wait until Saturday’s women’s super-G.