Will Perrine Laffont repeat her feat of 2018 and offer France, as in Pyeongchang already, its first gold medal at the Beijing Olympics-2022? The “queen of the moguls” is the favorite, but the competition has come dangerously close.
At 9:00 p.m. local (2:00 p.m. French time), if she negotiates the first two rounds of her grueling Olympic final well, Laffont will know if she is making history in her sport by becoming the first to win the Olympic title twice.
This Sunday, the Zhangjiakou mogul field will mark whatever happens for the Ariégeoise the end of an exhausting Olympiad: because since his Olympic title in 2018 at only 19 years old, Laffont has experienced many ups and downs that have left traces.
This winter alone, the 2021 world champion has been torn between podiums (six in the World Cup, including three victories), concussion and doubts, but her second place in qualifying on Thursday fully reassured her.
One certainty, “Pépette” is not expecting a walk in the park: the temperatures, if not polar like Thursday, will be clearly negative (-13°C) and especially her rivals, the Australian Jakara Anthony, best score of the “qualifiers”, and the Japanese Anri Kawamura, are no longer any complex.
“It adds a little spice,” swept the always smiling Laffont.
If she needed a warning, the Frenchwoman was able to measure by following the men’s final on Saturday, that in moguls, nothing is ever acquired, even when your name is Mikaël Kingsbury and you are considered the “boss of the moguls”: the Canadian was beaten by 0.05 points by the Swede Walter Wallberg.
– The rescheduled descent Monday –
And this men’s final did not spare the nerves of the Blues: Benjamin Cavet believed in the podium until the end, before finishing in a cruel fourth place.
To inflate the tricolor balance sheet, the day after the silver medal in the mixed relay in biathlon, in addition to Perrine Laffont, it will not be necessary to count (for the moment) on the descenders, their leader and veteran Johan Clarey in the lead.
Initially scheduled for 11:00 a.m., the main event of alpine skiing was postponed several times due to strong gusts of wind sweeping the Yanqing track, before the organizers decided to postpone it to Monday 12:00 p.m. local (05:00 French), between the two rounds of the women’s giant.
There was no miracle for Maurice Manificat in the skiathlon: like his complicated winter with injuries (pubalgia, ribs), the leader of the French cross-country ski team has never been in the shot.
He finished 23rd, very far from the Russian Alexander Bolshunov who flew over the race and disgusted his great rival Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo who finished in an unusual 40th place, more than nine minutes from the winner of the day. The best Frenchman, Clément Parisse, was ranked 10th.
In slopestyle snowboarding, New Zealander Zoi Sadowski-Synnott entered the sporting history of her country by offering her her first gold medal in the Winter Olympics for the Oceanian archipelago, better known for its rugby players and sailing skippers.
“I am very proud to have shown what the + Kiwis + are capable of”, she reacted as her country celebrates its national holiday on February 6.