Nichols gold, Stephens silver in sitting downhill
WHISTLER CREEKSIDE, B.C.,
Nichols, who also won gold in Tuesday’s giant slalom race, won with a time of 1:23.31. Despite not feeling well, Stephens came in at 1:28.26 (+4.95) to claim the silver and Claudia Loesch of
“I love downhill,” said Nichols. “It’s my favorite event and I wanted to throw a solid run. I did what I came to do. It’s fulfilling and exciting for me to have executed it. Any athlete can relate to that – you want to do well, your personal best, and I did that today.”
A self-described “adrenaline junkie,” Nichols, like most of her
Stephens is the defending gold medalist from
On Tuesday, Nichols became the first female U.S. Paralympian to win gold at both the summer and winter Games. She won gold with the women’s wheelchair basketball team in
“I'm really proud of Alana (Nichols) and Laurie (Stephens), it was a heartbreaker for Stephani (Victor) to miss out by just a little bit,” said Ray Watkins, the team’s head coach.
Today’s course conditions, shaped by the heavy rain on Tuesday, caused several crashes. Most were the victim of “hot air,” the largest jump towards the bottom of the course. Nichols crashed on the jump during her training run and, although she’s known for catching and loving big air, she knew she had to take it easy, ski tactfully and avoid the icy spots to win.
The three competing
“The sitting men (race) was kind of a heartbreaker,” said Watkins. “Chris (Devlin-Young) was up at the split and leading. He was going all out and that's what we want our folks to do.”
“I knew what to do to win this race,” Devlin-Young said. “One mistake at 70 miles an hour and down you go. It was a smokin’ fast run. If anyone was watching the times, until I was down, there’s nobody that would have beat that run, period.” Visibly disappointed, Devlin-Young promised himself he’d make up for it in the days to come. “It’s heartbreak. I had the race. It was mine to win or lose.”
Christoph Kunz (
Races continue tomorrow, Friday March 19, with super-G.
1. Alana Nichols (
2. Laurie Stephens (
3. Claudia Loesch (
4. Stephani Victor (
1. Christoph Kunz (
2. Taiki Morii (
3. Akira Kano (
13. Chris Devlin-Young (
DNF Tyler Walker (
DNF Joe Tompkins (