Chalk one up for the Swedes…and 16-year-old female slalom racers in the U.S.
An historic first-ever slalom world cup gold medal for Sweden; a gold and silver for French cousins Romane and Camille Prigent; and, get this, a bronze for 16-year-old American Evy Leibfarth in women’s K-1 were the highlights of the first day of finals at the ICF world cup in Ljubljana, Slovenia, last weekend.
Four years after Isak Ohrstrom last made a K1 world cup final, the 29-year-old Swede won not only his country’s first-ever world cup medal, but he made it gold by finishing 0.50 of a second ahead of Olympic silver medalist and home-town favorite, Peter Kauzer.
There was also a first-ever final and a world cup bronze for Brazil’s Pedro Goncalves, who would have won gold if not for a two-second penalty for a late gate touch.
Sweden already has a quota for Tokyo next year, and Ohrstrom is hopeful his win will help convince his country’s Olympic committee that he should be on the plane to Japan.
“It feels a little bit unreal, but I had a really good run so I’m happy with that,” Ohrstrom said. “I need to show I can perform at a top eight nation level, so this result today is a huge thing for me. It’s up to the Swedish Olympic Committee to make a decision, so we will see.”
Romane Prigent and her cousin, Camille, filled the top two placings in the women’s K1, with 21-year old Romane completing a clean run to post a time of 83.98. Camille Prigent had a two-second penalty for a gate touch which put her final time at 85.86, with 16-year-old American Evy Leibfarth third.
Prigent said she was pleased to bounce back after missing Olympic selection for the French team, and is now focusing on the hometown Olympics in Paris in 2024.
“We didn’t have any races, so I was planning my training so I could be good for the Olympic selection at the end of the year,” she said. “It was weird coming here after the selections, I wanted to race but not so much. I was so far behind last year at the French selections, this year I made top three, and in Paris I want to be first.”
Pics by Bence Vekassy
- Romane PRIGENT(FRA) 98 (0 penalties)
- Camille PRIGENT(FRA) 86 (2)
- Evy LEIBFARTH(USA) 99 (2)
- Isak OHRSTROM(SWE) 39 (0)
- Peter KAUZER(SLO) 89 (0)
- Pedro GONCALVES(BRA) 74.32 (2)