By Simon Evans
YANQING, China (Reuters) -Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin retained her Olympic title in the women’s combined on Thursday as American Mikaela Shiffrin yet again failed to finish.
Gisin won gold with a total time of 2:25.67, a comfortable 1.05 ahead of compatriot Wendy Holdener. Italy’s Federica Brignone finished in the bronze medal position.
Shiffrin was a strong favourite for the event, even after her ill-fated performances at these Games, but for the third time here had the letters DNF – Did Not Finish — next to her name.
She was well placed as fifth fastest after the morning’s downhill leg but, returning to the Ice River course where she had skied out in both the giant slalom and slalom, Shiffrin missed a gate and incredibly skied off the course yet again.
“I didn’t make it to the finish again, and like 60 percent of my DNF rate has happened at this Olympic Games,” said the American.
“I didn’t feel pressure there. I mean there is always pressure but I just felt loose and relaxed and like I knew my plan, focused and good skiing – I was doing it and it still didn’t work. That is what it is,” she said.
Six-times world champion, Shiffrin was widely expected to add significantly to her career medal tally at these Games.
She won gold in giant slalom at Pyeongchang 2018 after winning the slalom title at Sochi 2014. She also claimed the silver medal in the combined four years ago.
Shiffrin has competed in every individual event in Beijing but her results have been way below all expectations. She was only able to complete the speed events, finishing ninth in the super-G and 18th in the downhill.
The victory produced the fifth gold for the Swiss team at these Games and the second medal for both Gisin and Holdener.
Gisin, the combined winner at Pyeongchang 2018, won bronze in super-G here while Holdener finished third in slalom.
(Reporting by Simon Evans, additional reporting by Simon Jennings; Editing by Ken Ferris)