CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — Elisabeth Goergl of Austria took advantage of an early start number to win a World Cup super-G on Thursday and boost her status as a medal contender at the Sochi Olympics.
Wearing the No. 9 bib, Goergl timed 1 minute, 24.23 seconds down the Olympia delle Tofane course.
With changing light making it more difficult for the top-ranked skiers starting 16-22, overall World Cup leader Maria Hoefl-Riesch finished second, 0.04 seconds behind.
Nicole Hosp of Austria, another early starter, was third, 0.34 back.
It was the sixth win of Goergl’s World Cup career and her victories are now spread evenly between giant slalom (2), super-G (2) and downhill (2).
Goergl also swept gold medals in both super-G and downhill at the 2011 world championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, and took bronze in both downhill and giant slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
With her last win coming in a downhill on home snow in Altenmarkt two weeks ago, her form is right on track for the Sochi Games, which open Feb. 7.
“Yes, I feel very comfortable on my material,” said Goergl, who let out a loud scream when she finished her run and saw the No. 1 next to her name. “The shape is growing, and I’m happy that I can ski the way that I want to ski, and that I’m healthy.”
Goergl’s mother, Traudl Hecher, won bronze medals at the 1960 and ‘64 Olympics. Her older brother Stephan was also a World Cup skier, although he retired midway through last season.
“Of course I saw all the trophies of my mom. And I was very psyched the very first time I stood) on skis,” Goergl said. “I always wanted to go faster and faster.”
Goergl is also known for her singing, having sung the official tune for the Garmisch worlds at the opening ceremony.
“If I want to (sing) I want to do it professionally,” Goergl said. “Skiing is the focus now, and we’ll see what the future brings.”
The top Americans were Julia Mancuso in seventh and Stacey Cook in ninth, both season bests.
Lara Gut of Switzerland finished 19th and had her lead in the super-G standings cut to three points ahead of Anna Fenninger of Austria, who was fifth.
In the overall standings, Hoefl-Riesch holds a 107-point lead over Fenninger.
Hoefl-Riesch’s previous best result in super-G this season was eighth.
“Finally I made no big mistake,” Hoefl-Riesch said. “I’m proud and happy.”
Hosp was also third in a super-G in Beaver-Creek, Colorado, in November.
“I feel really good this year in super-G and I know I can do really fast,” said Hosp, the 2007 overall winner, who missed the Vancouver Games due to injury. “There (were) very hard times for me the last years. Now I got my feeling back.”
The super-G kicked off a busy schedule of four races in four days in the resort known as the “Queen” of the Italian Dolomites.
Downhill races are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, followed by another super-G on Sunday. Two of this week’s races were originally scheduled for last weekend in Cortina but were wiped out due to heavy snowfall. The other two were moved from Garmisch due to a lack of snow in the German resort.