PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Here’s a short guide to the women’s Alpine combined, which will run on Thursday after being brought forward by a day because of forecast high winds at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre:
It consists of two runs - a downhill in the morning, followed by a slalom in the afternoon - and is therefore the ultimate all-round test of a skier’s speed and technical skills.
The downhill run will start at 11.30 a.m. on Thursday (0230 GMT, 9.30 p.m. ET Wednesday) with the slalom following at 1.15 p.m (0415 GMT, 11.15 p.m. ET Wednesday).
American Mikaela Shiffrin, the overall World Cup champion in 2017 and leader in the standings again this season, will be hard to beat as she seeks a second gold after her giant slalom triumph.
This season she has moved up the ranks in downhill racing, while continuing to dominate in her specialist slalom event.
She dropped out of the downhill to concentrate on the combined when it was moved forward by a day, but still managed to set the fifth fastest time in the final training run for the marquee race.
Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel must also be considered a strong contender after showing her versatility with silvers in both the giant slalom and downhill, while Lindsey Vonn could challenge if she can muster up a decent enough time in the slalom.
Italy’s Sofia Goggia, who won the downhill gold on Wednesday, and Swiss Wendy Holdener, who grabbed silver in the slalom, could also threaten the podium.
The last four women’s Olympic combineds have been won by just two athletes - Croatia’s Janica Kostelic in 2002 and 2006, and Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch in 2010 and 2014. If an American wins, it would be the first U.S. victory in women’s combined. (Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)