CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (AP) — The plan for German skier Kira Weidle was to leave the world championships right after her final event on Saturday.
But once the downhill was over, she quickly decided to stay in Italy for another night.
Weidle finished a career-best second behind Swiss winner Corinne Suter to earn the German team its second surprise medal at the worlds.
“A medal has to be celebrated,” Weidle said. “We extend our reservation for one night. Luckily there’s a ski room in the cellar of the hotel, so we won’t disturb anyone.”
Her success came two days after Romed Baumann was runner-up in the men’s super-G.
Weidle was twice on a World Cup downhill podium in the 2018-19 campaign but failed to get a top-10 result in any of her eight previous races at worlds or Olympics.
Less than two months ago, she had surgery on her right thumb.
Still, she believed she could win the first speed medal at the worlds for the German women’s team since Maria Höfl-Riesch took bronze in the 2013 downhill.
“It’s really nice and surprising but I knew I could do it,” Weidle said. “The whole team and the whole World Cup circuit knew that I can ski fast. So, it’s not a real big surprise.”
The only starter for Germany in the women’s speed events, she truly delivered on the sun-bathed Olympia delle Tofane course.
The pressure for Germany to win a medal at these worlds was already off after Baumann got silver in the opening men’s race.
“The whole team wanted a medal, so after Romed got one, it wasn’t depending on me to win that medal,” Weidle said. “I could ski freely and without a medal on my mind.”
The first piece of silverware for Germany was won by Austrian-born Baumann. Baumann, whose wife is German, left the Austria squad in 2019 after losing his place on the speed team.
He struggled with the ongoing competition, always facing a fierce battle with his teammates in training to earn a starting spot for races.
Baumann got the last of his two World Cup wins nine years ago and hadn’t been on a podium in six years.
Once he joined the German federation, Baumann relaxed and rediscovered his joy for the sport.
It showed on Thursday in the super-G, where he finished just seven-hundredths of a second behind a former Austrian teammate, Vincent Kriechmayr.
On Sunday, he is part of the German team for the men’s downhill.
“I was at the bottom, now I’m almost at the top,” said Baumann, who turned 35 last month. “It’s incredible.”
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