Ireland’s Florence Bell, in her first outing of the Games today, starting in bib 42, finished in a credible 34th position in the Girls’ Giant Slalom at the World Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck . In a fine first run, Florence finished in 1:06:73 but an afternoon 2nd run time of 1:09:73 meant her ending the competition in 34th position overall. She later told SportsNewsIreland :
“I completed my first race at the Youth Olympics today; Giant Slalom. I was very pleased with my first run but I was a bit disappointed with my second run because I ended up in 34th place and I think I could have ended up in 31st place. I was not entered for the Super G and Super Combined races at the weekend because the SAI had set a points criteria of 120.
As a result, I had no experience of the race hill whereas almost all of the other competitors had already raced on the hill twice before. I think I may have had a better result if I had had more experience of the piste. I am looking forward to the Slalom race on Friday and hope to improve upon my performance then.”
Though Florence was understandably ‘ a bit disappointed’ there were in fact several more experienced skiers
who finished behind her or did not finish including Great Britain’s Rachelle Rogers, Mikaela Tommy of Canada, the host nation’s Martina Rettenwender and Turkey’s Dila Kavur,whilst others were disqualified
The Olympic title went to Clara Direz of France who described her day as “enormous” after skiing to the Gold medal.
Clara clocked a total time of 1 minute, 56.13 seconds. Estelle Alphand (France) claimed Silver with a time of 1:56.34, and Switzerland’s Jasmina SUTER took the Bronze in 1:56.45.
DIirez said her surprise victory, combined with the thrill of competing at Innsbruck 2012, has created one of the great moments in her life.
“Today I have lived an enormous experience and I’m always going to think of it as the best event I’ve ever done,” she said.
The event took place on the famous Patscherkofel Mountain, the Alpine skiing venue for the 1964 and the 1976 Olympic Winter Games. Ski legends Egon Zimmermann (1964) and Franz Klammer (1976) made sporting history on this mountain.
More from Innsbruck during the Games.