Crowd favourites Lindsey Vonn and Aksel Lund Svindal said their farewells in style while medals favourites Mikael Shiffrin and Marcel Hirscher confirmed they are the outstanding performers of today.
The 45th world championships and the third hosted by Are, Sweden, produced a near perfect script for Svindal and Vonn as alpine skiing now looks forward to the next edition in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, in 2021.
Svindal, 36, went out with a downhill silver and Vonn, at 34 and with her knees giving up on her, captured downhill bronze in what would have been an unlikely scenario two weeks ago.
Alpine skiing has been here before: the likes of Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Alberto Tomba, Hermann Maier, Janica Kostelic, Anja Paerson have all had to bow out, and new names took their place.
Shiffrin, who looks set to dominate for the foreseeable future, had already cemented her status as the outstanding skier in the World Cup. And the US star left Are with two more golds and a bronze, including a record fourth straight slalom gold.
Hirscher meanwhile confirmed he is the king of slalom with a powerful victory on the last day, his third after 2013 and 2017, giving him a record-equalling seven gold medals. He indicated it could be his last world championships as he reaches the latter stages of his career.
Of the emerging new names Slovakian Petra Vlhova, at 23 the same age as Shiffrin, won three medals — gold in giant slalom, silver in combined and bronze in slalom — and could be the biggest threat in seasons to come for the American.
The Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, 24, made his mark with his first championship medal by capturing gold in the giant slalom, leaving Hirscher with the silver.
Wendy Holdener was another stand-out performer, winning two golds including one in the team event for Switzerland. Another medal beckoned for her in the slalom after she led the first run, but a mistake left her empty-handed.
The Swiss, Norway and the US finished with two gold medals each. And a medals sweep in the men’s slalom on the final day for Austria went some way to making up for its women’s team failing to win a medal at all for the first time in 37 years.
The championships began with a dramatic women’s super-g when Vonn crashed badly and her US team-mate Shiffrin went on to win the gold medal.
But Vonn, in her final race before retiring, bounced back to clinch the downhill bronze in a race won by defending champion Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia.
The men’s downhill turned into a Norwegian celebration, with Svindal capturing his ninth world championship medal, winning silver behind compatriot Kjetil Jansrud.
The flag is now handed to Cortina — like Are a planned venue for the 2026 Winter Games as part of the bids by the only remaining candidates, Stockholm and Milan-Cortina.
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