Germany’s Emma Acher speeds down the course during a mixed team parallel slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships, in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Marco Tacca)

Germany’s Emma Acher speeds down the course during a mixed team parallel slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships, in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Marco Tacca)

Injury-hit Norway take gold in world skiing team event

Canada finished seventh after losing to Switzerland in the quarterfinals

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — Most talk about the Norwegian ski team at the world championships has been about its many injured stars.

On Wednesday, Norway made the headlines for winning gold at the team event.

“It’s going to be a major boost, having a gold medal. That’s fantastic,” head coach Steve Skavik said. “It’s great for the team. In the team event, they can do it together.”

Thea Louise Stjernesund, Sebastian Foss-Solevåg and Fabian Wilkens Solheim won their runs in the all-Scandinavian final against Sweden for a 3-1 victory.

The team also included Kristina Riis-Johannessen and Kristin Lysdahl.

“It’s nice,” Foss-Solevåg said. “We’re still a small but strong team and we showed them that we are strong without big stars.”

Canada finished seventh after losing to Switzerland in the quarterfinals. Canada’s team featured brothers Erik and Jeffrey Read of Canmore, Alta., Cassidy Gray of Panorama, B.C., and Erin Mielzynski of Collingwood, Ont.

Norway arrived at the worlds without Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Adrian Smiseth Sejersted, Lucas Braathen and Atle Lie McGrath, who have all been ruled out for the season with knee injuries.

Still, the Norwegian team eased past Japan (4-0) before edging the United States in the quarter-finals and defending champions Switzerland in the semis as both ties ended 2-2.

In case of a tie, the lowest added times from the best man and best woman on a team decides the winner.

In the final, Foss-Solevåg stopped racing midway through his heat against Kristoffer Jakobsen when the Swedish skier made a mistake and appeared to invade his course. The jury opted for a re-run which Solevåg won.

“Jakobson got on his inside ski and I saw him in my vision, like falling in,” the Norwegian said. “I am not risking my health and my legs for this so I stopped right away.”

Jakobson immediately acknowledged his mistake. “He totally agreed with me so there was actually no discussion,” Foss-Solevåg said.

Going by the rules, however, Jakobsen should have lost the heat right away as “interfering with an opponent, accidentally or not” is a reason for disqualification, according to section 5 of the mixed team parallel rules.

The incident came one day after the women’s individual parallel ended in controversy following a tie in the final. Marta Bassino was initially declared the sole winner before the Italian skier’s opponent, Katharina Liensberger of Austria, was awarded a second gold medal half an hour later.

Germany beat Switzerland for bronze after a 2-2 tie in Wednesday’s team event, while Sweden eliminated three-time champion Austria in the quarter-finals.

The American team, without Mikaela Shiffrin, beat Russia in the last 16 before losing to Norway.

“It’s tough, tiebreaks are always hard,” said US skier Nina O’Brien, who is set to compete again in Thursday’s giant slalom.

“Today I am racing this and other girls are probably training GS. I don’t know which way would be an advantage. But at least it’s time on skis and in a race.”

Italian racer Lara Della Mea fell hard on her back after losing control during a first-round heat against Finland and was taken off the course on a sled.

The Italian team said Della Mea will be out for the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.

By The Associated Press

Skiing and Snowboarding

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