Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Sochi 2014: Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin share women's downhill gold

By James Masters, CNN
February 12, 2014 -- Updated 1417 GMT (2217 HKT)
Introducing Sochi's history women ... Switzerland's Dominique Gisin (left) and Slovenia's Tina Maze. Introducing Sochi's history women ... Switzerland's Dominique Gisin (left) and Slovenia's Tina Maze.
HIDE CAPTION
History in the making at Sochi
History in the making at Sochi
History in the making at Sochi
History in the making at Sochi
History in the making at Sochi
History in the making at Sochi
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Switzerland's Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze both win gold in women's downhill
  • Gisin led before Slovenia's Maze recorded same time of 1 minute 41.57 seconds
  • Gisin's compatriot Laura Gut finishes third ahead of Italy's Daniela Merighetti
  • Alpine skiers have shared medals before at the Olympics, but never gold

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- They're the golden girls of downhill skiing -- but neither Dominique Gisin nor Tina Maze could hide their surprise after making Olympic history in Sochi.

Cue elation, huge smiles and hugs after the two skiers recorded the same time to each win a gold medal for the first time in the history of alpine skiing at the Olympics, following a dramatic conclusion to the women's downhill event Wednesday.

Switzerland's Gisin, who has not won a World Cup downhill race since 2009 and whose best finish in the downhill this season is seventh, had appeared set to claim gold outright after finishing with a run of 1 minute 41.57 seconds.

Follow CNN's live Sochi Winter Olympics coverage

But last year's overall World Cup champion Maze had other ideas -- powering through the course in the exact same time to take a share of the spoils.

"I have no words," the Slovenian, who won silver in the super-G four years ago in Vancouver and was one of the pre-race favorites, told reporters.

"This doesn't feel real. I will have to see my team to get myself together and realize how much this means to us," added the 30-year-old, who kissed the snow after finishing her run.

"I have been dreaming about this since I was little. The first ski race I ever won in my life was a downhill, so before I went down the track today I said to myself: 'This has to be it. I can do it,' and I just went for it."

Gisin failed to finish in 2010 but, after a year interrupted by injury, this time she came through in style to shock not just her rivals but also herself.

Incredible

"This is incredible," the 28-year-old told reporters.

"I am overwhelmed with emotions. I am so happy -- what a day. I don't think I even dreamed about this. Now that I have won, I am living the dream, but this is better than dreaming."

This not the first time Gisin has tied for top honors -- she shared the podium with Sweden's Anja Paerson when she claimed her maiden World Cup victory in 2009.

An outsider for the title on this occasion, the Swiss Air Force pilot was ranked 12th in the overall World Cup standings ahead of Sochi and suffered concussion in her only previous Olympics appearance.

"That's the story of my career, up, down, forwards, backwards," she added.

"I have had a lot of injuries in my life, I had nine knee surgeries. I was close to the podium a lot. I never won a medal on a big event, so what comes around, goes around," she said.

Gisin, who started skiing when she was 18 months old, started eighth in Wednesday's race and then faced an agonizing wait until Maze, who went out 21st, crossed the line some 30 minutes later.

"I looked away and I looked up again and then I thought, 'Zero. That means we're good,' " said Gisin.

"I was so nervous, just waiting. There was nothing I could do but in the end I was ahead -- well, together with Tina, but that's fine. I am for sure happy where I am."

Celebrations

India reinstated at Olympic Games
Johnny Quinn gets stuck again
Sochi's massive overspend

Gisin is the first Swiss downhill winner since Michela Figini in the Sarajevo Games 30 years ago.

Celebrations involved a phone call to Gisin's grandparents, who helped her learn to ski as a child.

"It was very emotional, they did so much for me," she added. "My whole family did. They always believed this would come, they always said you have to believe."

The pilot, who doesn't fly in the winter because "it is too stressful," believes the injury problems which have blighted her season gave her extra motivation to succeed in Sochi.

"I had trouble giving everything in races since the last injury, adding half a meter here or there, leaving a little more space rather than too little," she said.

"That's not how you win races. I didn't feel like an athlete anymore.

"Having to qualify, I had to fight in a strong team like this. That's what I needed, and now I feel like an athlete again and that's the biggest victory for me today."

There have been instances of shared medals in skiing at the Olympics.

France's Christine Goitschel and American Jean Saubert shared giant slalom silver at the Innsbruck Games in 1964.

In 1992, American Dian Roffe and Austrian Anita Wachter tied for second place in the same discipline.

Switzerland's Didier Cuche and Austrian Hans Knauss tied for the men's super-G silver in 1998.

Read: Skiing's pop queen Maze did it her way

Read: Why does the Winter Olympics matter?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1705 GMT (0105 HKT)
With the Olympic cauldron now extinguished, CNN takes a look at whether Russia's $50 billion Sochi budget was money well spent.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)
The athletes on show in Sochi provided moments of drama and destiny that captured the imagination and settled in the collective memory.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1615 GMT (0015 HKT)
Russia may have topped the medals table at the first Winter Olympics it staged, but which country was most successful per capita?
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
From eye-popping helmet designs to F1-influenced bobsleigh, the Sochi offered a bewildering array of technological innovation.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1146 GMT (1946 HKT)
Sochi's closing ceremony took an artistic look at Russian culture before the Olympic flag was handed over to South Korea for the 2018 Games.
February 23, 2014 -- Updated 1857 GMT (0257 HKT)
Critics say it would have been cheaper to coat this Russian road with caviar but will the route made for Sochi reap long-term rewards?
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Navigate your way around this spectacular 360-degree picture from Sochi's ski-jumping venue at the Winter Olympics -- and find out how it was created.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 1045 GMT (1845 HKT)
Sochi's transformation has left even the local cab drivers a bit lost and confused -- but don't let that put you off visiting this rejuvenated Black Sea resort.
February 14, 2014 -- Updated 1759 GMT (0159 HKT)
Australia's silver medalist Torah Bright celebrates during the Women's Snowboard Halfpipe Medal Ceremony at the Sochi medals plaza during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 13, 2014.
What do you get if you mix Valentine's Day, thousands of good-looking young Olympians and a popular online dating app?
February 14, 2014 -- Updated 1211 GMT (2011 HKT)
For a Winter Olympics, there are some very colorful characters from some very tropical climates taking part -- including this "Mariachi" skier.
February 14, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
If snowboarders were an introduction to a younger, hipper, "slacker" generation of Olympians, the next wave has taken it to another level.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
He didn't like carpets, he banned portraits and he walked in water rather than swim. Welcome to Joseph Stalin's dacha.
February 13, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
ebanon's Jackie Chamoun skis during the Women's Giant slalom first run at the 2013 Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria on February 14, 2013.
Like most skiers in Sochi, Jacky Chamoun had hoped to cause a stir on the slopes rather than off them.
February 12, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
A prop from the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
It has been dubbed Russia's Las Vegas. But has Sochi's massive renovation come at a cost to the region's stunning natural environment?
February 23, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
Take a different look at Sochi 2014 as CNN showcases the most compelling images from the world's best photographers.
ADVERTISEMENT