Winter Olympics: Women’s Downhill – Live Updates and Results

Women's downhill at the 2022 Winter Olympics; skier Corinne Suter won gold
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Alpine skiing at the 2022 Winter Olympics continued on Tuesday in Beijing (Monday night in the United States) with the women’s downhill. Switzerland’s Corinne Suter won the race, with Italy’s Sofia Goggia claiming silver and Nadia Delago earning bronze. See below for On Her Turf’s preview of the race, as well as live updates and results as it unfolded.

MORE ALPINE SKIING: Women’s Combined at the Winter Olympics – Live Updates and Results

Women’s Downhill – Live Updates:

10:32pm ET: After a 30-minute delay due to wind, we’re off! Italy’s Elena Curtoni is the first athlete down, clocking 1:32.87. We’ll see how that holds up.

10:35pm ET: Wondering why the skiers are wearing tape on their face? The cold. It is negative six degrees Fahrenheit on the slope this morning, and when you combine that with skiing 70-plus miles per hour? Yeah, I’d put tape on, too.

10:40pm ET: Oof. Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic skis out. She’ll still leave Beijing with a gold medal… in snowboarding. Because that’s what Ester Ledecka does. She’s also planning to compete in alpine skiing’s combined event, too.

10:42pm ET: Wow. Elena Curtoni‘s time is looking better by the minute. After six racers – including 2018 downhill silver medalist Ragnhild Mowinckel – Curtoni is still in the leader’s chair. Most of the top skiers are still to come, though.

10:47pm ET: Canada’s Marie Michele-Gagnon skis into third, quickly replaced by Austria’s Mirjam Puchner.

MORE ALPINE SKIING COVERAGE: In alpine skiing, women compete, but that’s about it

10:48pm ET: It is reportedly still very gusty on course (the reason for the 30-minute delay). That could have an impact on the results. As Mikaela Shiffrin said earlier this month, “You could do everything right and get a gust of wind and, that’s that.”

10:54pm ET: After 10 skiers, Italy’s Elena Curtoni is still in first, followed by Joana Haehlen (SUI) and Mirjam Puchner (AUT). Some big names – including Sofia Goggia and Shiffrin – still to come.

10:55pm ET: WOW. Italy’s Nadia Delago moves into first! That is a big surprise.

10:58pm ET: American Mikaela Shiffrin skis into 11th. Some very bouncy skis at points, as well as some challenging visibility at the end of the run.

11:00pm ET: Three weeks after a bad crash, Italy’s Sofia Goggia does Sofia Goggia things. In what looked like a VERY SKETCHY run at moments, she miraculously stayed on her feet and skis into first. Italy currently occupies all three medal positions. One of my favorite fun facts about Sofia Goggia: the intensity of her skiing inspired a new Italian word: “goggiate” (pron. GO-jee-ah-TAH). It is used to describe a mistake that occurs when you’re going ALL OUT. No goggiates in that run, though! She could become the second person to ever win back-to-back Olympic downhills.

Video of Sofia Goggia’s downhill run at the 2022 Winter Olympics:

11:04pm ET: Spoke too soon. Goggia moves into silver-medal position following a stellar run from Switzerland’s Corinne Suter, the reigning world champion in this event.

11:08pm ET: Germany’s Kira Weidle, one of the fastest athletes in the training runs, just misses the podium, crossing the line into fourth.

11:12pm ET: Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami – who already has two medals from these 2022 Winter Olympics (gold in super-G, bronze in giant slalom) – finishes well off the pace in 16th. Because the top skiers go in the top-20, the podium is starting to look more secure… not confirmed yet, though.

11:18pm ET: Let’s take a look at the athlete currently in bronze-medal position: Italy’s Nadia Delago. She has 47 World Cup starts in the last three years, but has never recorded a podium finish before. She did record two top-fives last month, though, so perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by her result in Beijing! Her older sister, Nicol Delago, also competed in today’s downhill and is currently in 11th.

11:23pm ET: Also worth taking a closer look at Corinne Suter‘s impressive resume. While the 27-year-old hasn’t had the best results of her career this year, she has been remarkably consistent over the last few years. She claimed medals in both the downhill and super-G at two straight world championships (2019, 2021).

11:32pm ET: Eek. A very scary crash from France’s Camille Cerutti. She goes down hard into the nets.

11:34pm ET: “It was super fun,” Mikaela Shiffrin tells NBC Olympics reporter Todd Lewis. “The speeds were up and the wind was playing around a little.” Looking ahead to the alpine combined (Wednesday night in the United States, Thursday morning in Beijing), Shiffrin says: “I think I have a shot and that’s really nice. So I’ll go for it and we’ll see.”

Video of Mikaela Shiffrin’s interview after the women’s downhill: 

11:44pm ET: The race is still on hold following the Cerutti’s crash.

11:50pm ET: And we’re back…

11:53pm ET: American Jackie Wiles skis into 21st. Wiles, 29, made her Olympic debut in 2014, but the Oregon native didn’t compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics after a downhill crash the weekend before the Games resulted in a broken left leg and torn ACL. She ultimately spent 22 months away from the World Cup before returning.

Keely Cashman will be the top American today in 17th, while Shiffrin sits in 18th. The 22-year-old Cashman, who grew up in Strawberry, California, is making her Olympic debut in Beijing. The fourth American, Alix Wilkinson, recorded a DNF.

12:08am ET: The final skier, China’s Kong Fanying, crosses the line, 12.66 seconds behind Corinne Suter‘s winning time.

Who are the downhill medal favorites at the 2022 Winter Olympics?

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin is slated to compete, but she isn’t the favorite. This will mark the first time the three-time overall World Cup champion enters the downhill at an Olympics or world championships. Earlier at these 2022 Winter Olympics, Shiffrin skied out of two of her best events – giant slalom and slalom – but she said competing in last week’s super-G helped her regain some of her confidence. Today’s event will also provide Shiffrin with more preparation for the combined, where she is a medal favorite.

Italy’s Sofia Goggia enters as the defending Olympic gold medalist. After a stellar start to the 2021-22 season, Goggia was the heavy favorite for a repeat performance in Beijing – until a rough crash three weeks ago resulted in a left knee sprain, partially torn ligament, and “minor” fibula fracture. After two solid training runs, though, Goggia appears to be in the mix.

Other top contenders include reigning downhill world champ Corinne Suter of Switzerland, dual alpine skier-snowboarder Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic, and Lara Gut-Behrami, who already has two medals from these Beijing Winter Games. Other names to watch: Germany’s Kira Weidle, Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel, Austria’s Christine Scheyer. Switzerland’s Joana Haehlen posted the top time in the final training run, a surprising result.

One athlete who won’t be in Beijing is American Breezy Johnson. Like Goggia, Johnson was a clear favorite with a remarkable string of success in the lead-up to Beijing. But one day after the 2022 U.S. Olympic team was confirmed, Johnson announced that she had to withdraw from the Games due to an injury in a training crash.

How is downhill different from the other alpine skiing events?

Downhill is the fastest alpine skiing race. One run determines the winner. It is the only event in which athletes take training runs on the course; ahead of every other alpine skiing event, athletes are only allowed to inspect the course, but not ski it.

Downhill courses features minimal turns, with athletes essentially skiing straight down the mountain.

That said, women’s downhill often looks quite different than men’s downhill.

“It seems like they have completely different ideas of what downhill for men looks like compared to downhill for women,” said Alice Merryweather, a current member of the U.S. ski team who was taken out of Olympic contention after a serious crash last September. “They’ll shave all of our jumps down, they’ll end races early if a jump is too big.”

MORE ALPINE SKIING: In alpine skiing, women compete, but that’s about it

How to watch the women’s downhill at the 2022 Winter Olympics:

Event Date/Time (U.S. Eastern) Date/Time (Beijing, China) How to Watch 
Alpine Skiing – Women’s Super-G 2/14/22 10:30 PM 2/15/22 11:30 AM NBC | Peacock | NBCOlympics.com

Women’s Downhill – Beijing Olympic Course Stats:

  • Course name: Rock
  • Vertical drop: 765 meters
  • Course length: 2704 meters
  • Course setter: Jean Philippe Vulliet

Women’s Downhill – Start List:

1 – ITA – Elena CURTONI
2 – FRA – Romane MIRADOLI
3 – SUI – Jasmine FLURY
4 – SUI – Joana HAEHLEN
5 – CZE – Ester LEDECKA
6 – NOR – Ragnhild MOWINCKEL
7 – AUT – Ramona SIEBENHOFER
8 – CAN – Marie-Michele GAGNON
9 – AUT – Mirjam PUCHNER
10 – ITA – Nicol DELAGO
11 – ITA – Nadia DELAGO
12 – USA – Mikaela SHIFFRIN
13 – ITA – Sofia GOGGIA
14 – SLO – Ilka STUHEC
15 – SUI – Corinne SUTER
16 – FRA – Laura GAUCHE
17 – GER – Kira WEIDLE
18 – AUT – Cornelia HUETTER
19 – SUI – Lara GUT-BEHRAMI
20 – AUT – Tamara TIPPLER
21 – USA – Alix WILKINSON
22 – FRA – Tiffany GAUTHIER
23 – NZL – Alice ROBINSON
24 – BIH – Elvedina MUZAFERIJA
25 – ROC – Julia PLESHKOVA
26 – USA – Keely CASHMAN
27 – FRA – Camille CERUTTI
28 – AUS – Greta SMALL
29 – SLO – Marusa SAIONI FERK
30 – USA – Jacqueline WILES
31 – CAN – Roni REMME
32 – AND – Cande MORENO
33 – CZE – Tereza NOVA
34 – SRB – Nevena IGNJATOVIC
35 – CZE – Barbora NOVAKOVA
36 – CHN – KONG Fanying

MORE WINTER OLYMPICS: Women of Team USA lead the way at 2022 Winter Olympics

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC

Crystal Dunn returns to USWNT roster five months after giving birth

Nigeria v USWNT
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Crystal Dunn was named to the USWNT roster for two upcoming friendlies against England and Spain, marking her first official selection since giving birth to son Marcel in May.

Dunn made her NWSL return with the Portland Thorns earlier this month and also trained with the U.S. team as a non-rostered player ahead of friendlies vs. Nigeria.

In addition to Dunn, the 24-player roster features a veteran core of Alyssa Naeher, Becky Sauerbrunn, Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh, and Megan Rapinoe.

Alex Morgan was not named to the USWNT roster due to a knee injury. While U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski did not provide details of the injury, he noted that “if this was a World Cup final, Alex was going to be on this trip and was going to play, no question.”

Other roster highlights include 17-year-old Alyssa Thompson, who becomes the first player born in 2004 to receive a USWNT call-up. Thomas, a high senior, plays club soccer for the U-17 Total Futbol Academy boys’ team.

“We are very excited for her, very excited about her potential and qualities and looking forward to seeing how she will turn out in our environment,” Andonovski said of Thompson. “This camp is not make it or break it. It’s a first experience for her, it’s just something that she shouldn’t even worry about.”

The USWNT also includes a handful of players who have made their USWNT breakthrough this season — thanks in part to both strong NWSL play and injuries to more veteran players. That list includes the likes of Naomi Girma (7 caps), Taylor Kornieck (5 caps), Hailie Mace (5 caps), Sam Coffey (1 cap), and Savannah DeMelo (0 caps).

Andonovski on Thursday called Coffey, a midfielder for the Portland Thorns, a candidate for NWSL MVP.


USWNT Roster for October 2022 Friendlies vs. England and Spain

Goalkeepers (3):

  • Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit)
  • Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage)
  • Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

Defenders(7):

  • Alana Cook (OL Reign)
  • Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC)
  • Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC)
  • Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC)
  • Sofia Huerta (OL Reign)
  • Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current)
  • Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC)

Midfielders (8):

  • Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC)
  • Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC)
  • Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA)
  • Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC)
  • Rose Lavelle (OL Reign)
  • Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC)
  • Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit)
  • Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

Forwards (6):

  • Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit)
  • Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars)
  • Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign)
  • Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit)
  • Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC)
  • Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy)

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC

Justine Wong-Orantes’ atypical path to becoming one of the best liberos in the world

Justine Wong-Orantes hits the ball in the women's semi-final volleyball match between USA and Serbia during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
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It’s been 20 years since the same nation held both the Olympic and world volleyball titles at the same time, but libero Justine Wong-Orantes is looking to help lead Team USA accomplish that very feat at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships in the Netherlands and Poland. Competition began on Friday and the U.S. is currently 2-0 after group play wins against Kazakhstan and Canada.

“We’re trying to win, for sure,” Wong-Orantes told On Her Turf. “I think, especially with the new turn of the program and the new year of the quad, we just have a really nice blend of veterans and also newcomers on the team.”

The 14-woman roster for Team USA, which is ranked No. 1 in the world and won its first Olympic title last summer, features six players from that gold-medal-winning team. And while Wong-Orantes is among the 2021 U.S. Olympic team veterans, she’s still a relative newcomer to international play.

The Southern California native enjoyed a notable junior career – she was 12 when she became the youngest female to ever earn an AAA rating in beach volleyball – and was a standout collegian at Nebraska, where she was a member of the 2015 NCAA championship team. But Wong-Orantes followed a different path upon graduation, initially choosing not to go overseas to play professionally.

While she was first selected for the U.S. national team in 2016 and played a handful of international tournaments in the following years, it wasn’t until she started playing professionally in Germany in 2019 that she saw the potential to elevate her position on the roster. In particular, the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics gave her an additional year of overseas experience, which she calls “a blessing in disguise.”

“I just felt like I was still in that developmental stage,” she said. “And a whole year postponement allowed me to go overseas and really get all the touches, all the repetitions, and just kind of expose myself to international volleyball another year. So I was, in hindsight, pretty thankful for that COVID season because I got an extra year under my belt, and I think that just gave me a ton of confidence.”

Ahead of the Olympics, Wong-Orantes earned “best libero” honors at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball National League in Rimini, Italy, which helped secure her spot on the Olympic roster. In Tokyo, she followed up with another standout performance and was named best libero of the Olympic tournament.

As to how the Wong-Orantes transformed into one of the world’s top liberos, she points to her background as a beach volleyball player. She began competing at age 8, and her first partner was Sara Hughes, a star on the AVP Pro Tour who also won two NCAA titles with USC.

“I think having that background and just the court awareness that beach volleyball forces you to have allowed me to really have a good read on the game,” said Wong-Orantes. “I think that’s what makes a great libero is just reading and always being reactive towards the ball.”

Wong-Orantes also credits the assistance of mental coach Sue Enquist, a former UCLA softball coach and U.S. national team coach, who now helps teams work on their culture and relationships. Enquist began working with the U.S. volleyball team during the pandemic and has continued in her role ever since.

“We just worked on a lot of stuff within ourselves, within our program, how to communicate with each other off the court, and I think that honestly propelled us into such a high, high level with how we worked with each other, and then that transferred onto the court,” explained Wong-Orantes, who noted the team has Enquist on speed dial while at the World Championship. “I really commend Sue. I just really give a lot of praise to her because I think our culture was never bad, but I think [she] just transformed into a different level.”

2022-09-26 - FIVB Volleyball Womens World Championship 2022 - Day 4
ARNHEM, NETHERLANDS – Justine Wong-Orantes (far right) poses for a photo with her U.S. teammates after defeating Canada at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on September 26, 2022. (Photo by Rene Nijhuis/Orange Pictures/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Wong-Orantes said she and her U.S. teammates are on their toes for the world championships, which features twice as many teams (24) as the Olympics and a “more grueling” format.

“It’s going to be a long tournament, and I think we’re really going to need all 14 of us that are here. I’m pretty certain that, at any given moment, someone’s going to be called on and someone’s going to need to step up in big moments.”