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OLYMPICS: Maze Wins Giant Slalom Gold

Sochi, 18 February - Slovenian skier Tina Maze won gold in the women's giant slalom in Sochi on Tuesday to win her second gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics and sixth overall medal for Slovenia. She defied the poor conditions on the course to keep a lead earned in the first run, beating rival Anna Fenninger of Austria.

Sochi, Russia
Slovenia's Tina Maze wins women's giant slalom race at the Sochi Olympics
Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

With bib 1, Maze was flawless in the first run to take the lead, and managed to keep it in the second run, finishing 0.07 seconds ahead of Fenninger and 0.27 seconds ahead of Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, the giant slalom champion from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Maze won her and Slovenia's first Olympic gold last Wednesday, beating the competition in the downhill after finishing fourth in the super combined two days earlier. She now has four Olympic medals, including two silvers from Vancouver.

The excited Maze told the press she believed that she could win gold in giant slalom, which is her best discipline. "I came here for this win. I believed in it!", said the winner of 13 giant slalom events in the World Cup last season.

"It was very tough losing two medals by 0.1 of a second," the reigning World Cup winner said, referring to last week's super combined event and the super G.

The 30-year-old Slovenian joined Marie-Theres Nadig of Switzerland as the only Alpine skiers in history to win gold in downhill and giant slalom at the same Winter Olympic Games.

Slovenia already has two gold medals in Sochi after failing to win a single Olympic gold medal in all previous tries. Maze was already the most successful Slovenian winter Olympian before the Sochi Games with two silvers.

She is being bombarded with praise and congratulations, with President Borut Pahor saying in his message that her "successes are not a surprise, they are victories of hard work and exceptional talent, as well as persistent sacrifices".

Slovenia's best skier was also congratulated by the government, which tweeted "Bravo @TinaMaze", and by parliamentary Speaker Janko Veber and Education and Sport Minister Jernej Pikalo.

Also representing Slovenia today at the Roza Hutor ski resort were Katarina Lavtar, who finished 20th (-3.77), and Ilka Štuhec, who was 31st (-7.98).

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© STA, 2014