ZB

Robinson looms as triple-threat at Winter Olympics

Author
Matt Brown, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 15 Jan 2022, 12:09pm
Alice Robinson's Olympic prospects just got a major boost. (Photo / Photosport)
Alice Robinson's Olympic prospects just got a major boost. (Photo / Photosport)

Robinson looms as triple-threat at Winter Olympics

Author
Matt Brown, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 15 Jan 2022, 12:09pm

For 18 months, New Zealand ski racer Alice Robinson and her team have been trying to find a downhill that fitted into her schedule. 

Now after back-to-back second place finishes in her first ever races in the ultimate speed event, the 20-year-old looks likely to add the blue riband discipline to her upcoming Beijing Winter Olympic schedule next month. 

Robinson has finished second at the Orières Merlette Europa Cup Downhill overnight in a repeat of her debut performance 24 hours earlier on the same slope. 

After the first race, where she stormed into second after starting from the back of the field, she had an advantageous start position of bib 3. 

"It was pretty good today, I was a little bit fatigued, but I just went out there and my top section was really good, I had some good improvements up there. I had a couple of slight line errors down the bottom which I think is where I lost some speed, but it is still a good result," Robinson said. 

The results at the second tier Europa Cup level mean Robinson has been able to lower her Downhill FIS points, enabling her to not only take part in World Cup Downhill training in the days prior to Super G World Cup races, but also the potential to race in Downhill at World Cup level and at the upcoming Olympics. 

Co-coach Chris Knight says Robinson has confirmed their belief in her ability in speed skiing. 

"We always thought Alice was going be a good speed skier and there's no question that is the case. That's her future, as well as GS (Giant Slalom) and we're really excited. 

"Having under 80 points in downhill means that she can start the training runs and actually race World Cup downhill now. Our idea was, by having under 80 points, to do the training runs which gave her time on the hill before the World Cup Super G races; which always come after the downhills. 

"We will see how it goes in Cortina with training runs and then decide after that if she races or not." Knight explained. 

Cortina d'Ampezzo in Italy is the venue for the next World Cup downhill and Super G races from the 20th to the 23rd of January, after she competes in a World Cup Super G tomorrow night at Zauchensee in Austria. 

While Robinson is expected to be a real force in her top discipline, Giant Slalom, at the Olympics - she has three World Cup victories and finished fourth at last year's World Championships - and could also be a contender in Super G - having placed fourth in her last World Cup race in Switzerland last month prior to contracting Covid - Downhill is now clearly a possibility for Beijing. 

"This also gives her an option at the Olympics" Knight said. "We haven't even seen the hill there, but if we get there and that hill looks like something that might be working for Alice, well she's in the same boat as every single other speed girl there, not having raced that hill before. So, we just wanted to have some more options and she did a great job providing those." Knight said.