MERIBEL, France (AP) — Italian skier Federica Brignone won the women’s combined race Monday on the opening day of the world championships after defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin skied out near the end of her slalom run.
Shiffrin seemed to be on her way to beating Brignone but the American straddled the third-to-last gate. She trailed Brignone by 0.96 seconds after the super-G portion of the race but had made up 0.88 of that difference before skiing out.
Brignone held on to her lead to become the first world champion from Italy in the women's combined.
“I am so happy and grateful for today,” Brignone said. “It was an amazing day. I did two really good runs, also super-G and then slalom. What's missing in my career was a gold medal and I'm so, so excited and so happy about today.”
The Italian said she arrived at the worlds relaxed.
“I'm skiing good. I came here like really no stress and I said: ‘I can enjoy,’" Brignone added.
Wendy Holdener had the fastest slalom time as the two-time world champion from Switzerland climbed from 13th after the opening run to win silver, 1.62 seconds behind Brignone. Bronze went to Ricarda Haaser of Austria.
The combined event adds the results of a super-G run and a slalom run.
Shiffrin was competing in her first major event since failing to win a medal in six starts at last year’s Beijing Olympics. It’s the first time since the Olympics that Shiffrin failed finish a run of a technical race.
Shiffrin was the defending champion in the combined event. She has won six world titles and 11 medals overall in total from 13 previous starts at world championships.
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