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Yanqing (China) (AFP) – Italian Sofia Goggia has revealed she defied the pain barrier to fight her way to Olympic silver in the women’s downhill on Sunday just three weeks after suffering a horrific crash.
The 2018 Olympic champion appeared to be out of the Winter Games after being left on crutches with a knee injury after crashing during a snow World Cup race at home in Cortina d’Ampezzo late January.
Still, the 29-year-old put on an impressive display on the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Center test course and admitted she had emptied the tank in her quest for gold.
“I gave everything I could,” Goggia said. “From zero to 10, my fitness is around five. I can barely bend my knee.
“It was very difficult for me mentally. I took painkillers before the race.
“It was really painful at the top of the course, but it lasted less than a second.”
The Italian was the early leader before Swiss runner Corinne Suter eclipsed her time by just 0.16 seconds to claim gold.
“I have a lot of respect for her,” Suter said of Goggia.
“It’s amazing what she’s done in the last few weeks to come and earn the money.”
Goggia said she was determined to run in the Olympics following her accident, admitting she only spent three of the recommended 10 days on crutches.
“What impressed me was the confidence I had in the first downhill training here, which is unusual after a crash like Cortina’s,” said the Italian.
“In the end, I’m happy with my result, because being here at the Olympics after my crash was not guaranteed at all.”
Goggia said she was thrilled with the money after her tough fight to get into shape.
“I always thought to myself that if I could get over that fall, the downhill race would probably be the easiest part for me,” she said.
“I found an incredible strength in me.
“I’m happy and grateful to have been able to win another medal, and I’m happy with myself.”
American Mikaela Shiffrin was stunned by Goggia’s resilience.
“It was a big injury, and it seems a bit impossible that she’s got everything together to be able to race,” said Shiffrin, the overall World Cup leader who finished 18th in the downhill.
“It’s really impressive. It’s a silver medal instead of gold, but it’s a very, very, very hard-won medal.”
© 2022 AFP