Gut-Behrami secures overall, giant slalom titles after placing 10th at World Cup finals

Lara Gut-Behrami secured the women's World Cup overall and giant slalom titles Sunday in Saalbach, Austria, after finishing 10th in the discipline at the World Cup finals.

Federica Brignone wins final women's race in Austria

A women's skier holds up a large crystal globe trophy.
Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland wins the Crystal Globe in the overall standings during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Finals women's giant slalom on Sunday in Saalbach, Austria. (Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom via Getty Images)

Lara Gut-Behrami has completed half of her mission to win four crystal globes this alpine skiing World Cup season.

And the Swiss star hasn't even had to show her best skiing yet.

Gut-Behrami secured the overall and giant slalom titles Sunday in Saalbach, Austria, after finishing 10th in the GS at the World Cup finals.

Her only remaining challenger in both classifications, Federica Brignone, won the race but that was not enough for the Italian, who could only overtake Gut-Behrami if the Swiss star had finished outside the top 15 and failed to score points.

"It's unbelievable, the GS has always been so important to me," said Gut-Behrami. "I always knew, if I'm skiing fast in GS, then I'm skiing fast also in super-G and downhill."

WATCH | Full coverage of 2nd run from Saalbach, Austria:

FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Saalbach: Women’s giant slalom 2nd run

2 months ago
Duration 45:54
Watch the deciding run of the women's giant slalom race from the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup event in Saalbach, Austria.

Gut-Behrami became the first female skier from Switzerland since Sonja Nef in 2002 to win the giant slalom title, though she won the world title in the discipline in 2021.

"To win a globe 22 years after Sonja Nef, to keep like the tradition we have, such an amazing tradition of skiing in Switzerland, so I'm also proud about that," said Gut-Behrami. "I was really nervous today, because I really wanted to win that. I skied so bad, I was just nervous, so I'm not surprised about that."

Gut-Behrami is a strong favourite to add the season titles in super-G and downhill next week, which would make her the fourth female skier to win four classifications in one season, after Lindsey Vonn, Tina Maze and, most recently, Mikaela Shiffrin achieved the feat.

On Sunday, Gut-Behrami avoided risks in both runs, posting only the eighth and 17th fastest times.

WATCH | Full coverage of 1st giant slalom run on Sunday:

FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Saalbach: Women’s giant slalom 1st run

2 months ago
Duration 58:06
Catch the first run of the women's giant slalom race from the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup event in Saalbach, Austria.

"What would you do? I learned that sometimes you just have to stay safe, try to cross the finish line," she said. "Of course, not the best way to end the GS season talking about skiing, but is the best way to end the season with a globe."

Britt Richardson of Canmore, Alta., was 18th of 21 finishers in Sunday's event, clocking 2:24.53. She sat 20th after the opening run and placed 13th in the second.

It's the second overall championship for Gut-Behrami after winning it in 2016, the last year before Shiffrin's reign started.

A five-time overall champion, Shiffrin won the title the last two years and led the standings again this season, but the American dropped out of the race when she sustained a knee injury in a crash during a downhill in Italy in January.

Shiffrin ended her season Saturday after winning her second straight race after her six-week layoff.

WATCH | Shiffrin overtakes Larsson with sensational 2nd run to prevail in Austria:

Mikaela Shiffrin gets 60th career World Cup slalom win in her final race of the season

2 months ago
Duration 4:58
The victory in Saalbach, Austria, marked Shiffrin’s record-extending 97th career World Cup win.

Gut-Behrami passed Shiffrin after winning a GS in Andorra in February before crowning a consistent season in which she has had eight wins and finished outside the top six just four times.

Gut-Behrami, who turns 33 next month, is the oldest overall champion and only the second skier to win the sport's biggest prize in her 30s, after fellow Swiss standout Vreni Schneider, who was 30 when she won the last or her three overall titles in 1994-95.

Brignone dominated the season-ending event, winning it by a massive 1.36 seconds from Alice Robinson of New Zealand. Thea Louise Stjernesund of Norway was 1.67 behind in third.

"[Winning the race] was my focus for today," said Brignone after her 12th career GS win and 27th overall. "I gave everything. In the second run I had a big mistake so I thought it was gone, but it was wonderful."

The next women's race at the finals is the super-G on Friday.

With files from CBC Sports

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