Morning Chronicle - 'Olympics are everything' says injury-hit downhill ace Goggia

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'Olympics are everything' says injury-hit downhill ace Goggia
'Olympics are everything' says injury-hit downhill ace Goggia

'Olympics are everything' says injury-hit downhill ace Goggia

Sofia Goggia's chances of defending her Olympic downhill title took a nose dive when she crashed heavily last month -- but she showed Saturday she has gone through the pain barrier to give herself a fighting chance.

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The Italian sustained a serious knee injury, but she revealed after safely negotiating the first training run that she had eschewed long-term crutches in fear that she might lose more physical form in her race to be fit for the Beijing Games.

"With one day of crutches, you lose one week of training. I stopped crutches after three days -- usually it’s 10 days," she said.

Rating herself as a five-and-a-half out of 10 physically, Goggia could not contain her joy as she came racing through to the finish area in cold, slightly foggy conditions.

She bent her knees, raising her poles to her goggles for a moment's introspection before dropping her guard to reveal a wide grin.

"I was just glad I could finish my downhill!" Goggia said.

"The tactic was to build the downhill. I just wanted to lean well on my ski boots, give energy to the skis. It was a nice run, I’m happy for my leg.

"It was not guaranteed to be here. It’s already a success that I’m here, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be so happy as I am today after my first downhill."

Goggia sat out of Friday's super-G having struggled in warm-up runs for that race won by Switzerland's Lara Gut-Behrami, but she warned that "downhill is another thing".

"For me, the Olympic Games are everything, the place that you want to be to achieve your childhood dream. There is no place I’d rather be than here. I don’t care about my condition," she said.

"I will give all of what I have. I keep working, the strength is going to be back, hopefully in three days!"

American Mikaela Shiffrin described Goggia as "probably the toughest person" she had ever met.

"It's important and really good to have her here and even starting the training runs, it looked like her reaction in the finish was 'oh my gosh maybe I can do this'.

"It's wonderful to see Sofia ski the run, get down... I hope she feels good with that."

Turning to her own ambitions at a difficult Olympics for her, Shiffrin said finishing the super-G had been very satisfying after "not finishing the giant slalom and slalom took the pressure off".

"Performance-wise, expectation-wise, I ticked that box, not in a good way but I checked it nonetheless!" said the American, who is not 100 percent certain to race the downhill.

"Today it felt even better than I thought. Today gave me a little bit more positivity.

"We're going to have to see how things go as the days progress."

Germany's Kira Weidle topped the first of three training sessions before Tuesday's downhill proper.