Australia and Olympic Alpine Skiing
Zali Steggall created history at the Nagano Games in 1998 when she won Australia’s first individual Winter Olympic medal, a bronze in the Slalom. Zali finished her career after Salt Lake 2002 as a four-time Olympian.
Forty-five athletes have represented Australia in Alpine Skiing at the Olympics since Oslo 1952.
At Vancouver 2010 two male Australian alpine skiers competed. For Jono Brauer it was his second Games and the third for Craig Branch.
Australia was represented by five Olympic debutants in Alpine Skiing at Sochi 2014. At just 18, Greta Small lined up in all five events including Australia’s best result in alpine competition at Sochi with a 15th place finish in the Super Combined.
Greta returned for her second Games at PyeongChang 2018, recording Australia’s best ever women’s downhill result with 20th place. She also finished 31st in the Super-G but unfortunately recorded a DNF in the Combined Downhill. Her fellow Sochi teammate Dominic Demschar improved on his 39th place Giant Slalom result at PyeongChang, finishing 33rd.
Beijing 2022 marks 70 years since Australia first sent an alpine skiing athlete to compete at the Olympic Games.
At the IOC congress in 1910 an idea of forming an International Ski Federation was discussed and the Commission Internationale de Ski emerged to help guide the sport over the next 14 years. In 1914 a proposal for the inclusion of ski events at the Olympics Games was put forward, however no approval was given.
Skiing featured as a demonstration sport at the Chamonix 1924 Games, however the debate over the sport’s Olympic inclusion still raged. Both Norway and Finland voted against the inclusion of Olympic skiing as they thought it might detract from their own well-established international competitions.
Despite its status as one of the blue riband events of the Winter Olympics, it was not until 1936 at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Games that Alpine Skiing made its debut when the combined (downhill and slalom) events for both men and women were held. This event was dropped eight years later and only reappeared at Calgary 1988 alongside the inaugural inclusion of the Super-G.
Slalom and Downhill were added at the 1948 Saint Moritz Games and the first giant slalom competition was held in 1952.
Alpine Skiing is a fast-paced, beat the clock event held on a downhill course with sharp turns and soaring jumps. With no ramps or awkward bumps alpine skiers are able to reach speeds as fast as 160 km/h.
Downhill and Super-G features the longest and least winding alpine course. The course is marked by red flags, with each skier making a single run down the course and the fastest time determines the winner.
Slalom, Giant Slalom, Alpine Combined
Slalom demands the sharpest turns of all alpine events and is contested on the shortest course. A skier must pass through a set number of gates which mark the course or is disqualified from the event. Each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs take place on the same day. The times are added and the fastest total time wins.
Mixed Team Parallel
Mixed Teams go head-to-head as four athletes from both teams will have a one-on-one race. The team with the winning competitor in each run is awarded one point, while the team of the losing competitor receives zero points. In each phase of the competition - 1/8 final, quarter-final, semi-finals, small final, big final - two women and two men must compete for each team.
The team with the most points won in a phase is determined the winner. The line-up for each phase may be different. If there is a tie at the end of a phase, the team with the lowest combined time of the best individual woman's run and the best individual man's run will win the heat.