PyeongChang Day 12 round-up: Italy's Goggia lands historic downhill gold

PyeongChang Day 12 round-up: Italy's Goggia lands historic downhill gold

Sofia Goggia became the first Italian woman in history to become Olympic downhill champion

Tom Hiscott

In one of the blue-riband events for any Winter Olympic Games, Sofia Goggia of Italy became the first woman from her nation to become downhill skiing champion. 

The most prestigious of the alpine disciplines was won by Aksel Lund Svindal on the men's side a week ago, and on day 12 of competition in PyeongChang, Goggia added to her name to list of Olympic downhill champions. 

Goggia claims downhill title, as Vonn can only claim bronze

After watching Tina Weirather take the lead thanks to her early start number, Goggia was fifth down the mountain and struggling to make an impact during the top half of the course. 

The four-time World Cup race winner then started to eat up the course, moving into the green at the fourth time-check, and by the time she reached the final jump she had picked up enough speed to move into gold.

Goggia stopped the clock at 1:39.22, gaining more than six tenths advantage of the second half of the course to Liechtenstein's Weirather. 

Goggia flies down the course (image source: Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Lindsey Vonn was the biggest threat to Goggia's time among the top 15 starters, and despite putting in her cleanest run of these Olympics so far, the popular American finished 0.47 seconds down on the Italian, ending her chances of repeating as downhill champ following victory in Vancouver eight years ago. 

With the top three of Goggia, Vonn and Weirather starting to think that their podium places had been sewn up, giant slalom silver medalists Ragnhild Mowinckel set off down the mountain with her eye on more silverware. 

The young Norwegian was fast off the start, and held a good race line down the mountain, leading at the third intermediate split by 0.09 seconds from Goggia thanks to a top speed of 112.81km/h. 

Mowinckel stayed in touch at the next two splits, trailing by the finest of margins, and after slightly losing her line off the final jump, she remained in second place, finishing just 0.09 seconds behind Goggia in gold, with Weirather bumped out of the medals altogether. 

Norway continue golden games on both ice and snow

Each nation have sports which they favour, and with many disciplines offering the opportunity to grab a multitude of medals, certain countries can monopolise the podium positions in the events in which they excel. 

Klaebo and Sundby celebrate sprint gold (image source: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Norway, who currently top the medal table after day 12, would be seen as the nation to beat in cross-country skiing. With a conveyor belt of talent available to the selectors, making the squad in the first place is no mean feet. 

Heading into the Team Sprint events, it was a foregone conclusion that the Norwegians would medal in the men's and women's races, with both teams probably favourite for gold.

The ladies duo of Marit Bjoergen and Maiken Caspersen Falla suffered disappointment, only bringing home bronze, with silver going to Sweden, and gold claimed by the Americans following a sensational sprint from Jessie Diggins

There was no such trouble in the men's race however, and following a strong kick on the fourth leg from Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, gold was never in doubt. His partner Martin Johnsrud Sundby maintained the lead given to him at the fifth transition, with the young phenom Klaebo having plenty in reserves on the 21-year-old's way to a third gold of these games. 

This Norwegian squad have proven to be more than just a strong skiing nation however, and after dispatching of Sven Kramer and the Dutch in their semi-final, Norway's 3,000m pursuit speed skating team claimed gold following a win over hosts Korea in the final. 

The Norwegian trio on their way to pursuit gold (image source: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

It was a tough day for the Netherlands in the Gangneung Ice Arena, with their women's team only one able to go one better than the men, settling for silver in their pursuit event after being beaten in the gold-medal race by an olympic-record time set by Japan

In the other gold medals handed out on day 12, Mariama Jamanka pilotted Germany to victory in the two-women bobsleigh, while Brady Leman of Canada took gold in the men's Ski-Cross, four years after finishing an agonising fourth in Sochi.