We explain the Olympic giant slalom rules after American medal favorite Mikaela Shiffrin was disqualified on Monday.
Overall World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin got her Winter Olympics off to the worst possible start on Monday.
The 26-year-old American, who has three Winter Games medals, including two golds, was looking to add to her medal haul but was disqualified on her opening run of the giant slalom.
Giant slalom in more detail
Alpine skiing has been part of the Winter Olympics since 1936 and consists of 11 medal events. Both men and women compete in a number of formats including downhill, super-G, slalom, and giant slalom, which take place at the Alpine Skiing Center in suburban Yanqing, Beijing, at this year’s Winter Olympics.
The downhill and super-G are all about speed, whereas the slalom and giant slalom are more technical, as skiers navigate carefully placed gates by moving side to side.
The giant slalom is different to the slalom in that it features fewer and wider turns. Because of that, it is the faster of the two events, with skiers reaching speeds of up to 50mph.
Each skier makes two runs down the slope. The times are added together, and the fastest total time determines the winner of the event.
Mikaela Shiffrin’s disqualification
Mikaela Shiffrin’s defense of her 2018 gold medal in the giant slalom ended in mere seconds on Monday.
The American missed a gate early in the first run of the giant slalom and was disqualified.
After five turns on the course known as the Ice River, Shiffrin slid and fell on her left hip, missing the gate she was supposed to pass through. It meant she was out of the two-leg event on the opening run.
It is her first ‘DNF’ – Did Not Finish – in more than four years and 30 races.
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Olympic giant slalom rules explained
Many fans wondered what the Olympic giant slalom rules were after Mikaela Shiffrin’s disqualification. Simply, if a skier misses a single gate, he or she is automatically disqualified from the competition.
There is a way to avoid the DQ, but it would involve the skier going back uphill and passing through the missed gate correctly. However, the time it would take to do this means it’s often not worth the effort, as the individual would have an overall time markedly slower than the rest of the field.
Shiffrin’s bitter disappointment
Afterwards, Shiffrin told reporters: “I won’t hide the disappointment but I’m not going to dwell on it because that won’t help me. But there was just one turn, I had a small, small mistiming when I really went to push on my edges and that makes all the difference.
“It doesn’t happen too often that I am falling,” she added. “I have been really working on the right timing of my turns and really never thought this was going to be part of the issue. But it wasn’t because I was holding back, so I can be proud of that. But it’s five turns into the Olympic GS, there’s disappointment for sure.”
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