Laurence St-Germain is crowned world champion in slalom
Laurence St-Germain has never finished higher than sixth in a major slalom race.
Against all odds, St-Germain pushed herself to the limit to shock the world’s best and claim her first podium on an international circuit. She raced to the slalom gold medal at the 2023 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel and Méribel, France.
St-Germain’s time of 1 minute and 43.15 seconds put her on the top step of the podium, 0.57 seconds ahead of American Mikaela Shiffrin, forcing the expected winner of every slalom race and four-time champion to settle with second.
Germany’s Lena Duerr (1:43.84) completed the podium with the bronze medal.
“I was really not expecting this, obviously. It’s unbelievable,” St-Germain said from Méribel. “I attacked, had a bit of a mistake, just thinking go down, go down, go down, and it worked out, I guess.”
This marks the first gold for Canada in women’s slalom since Anne Heggtveit won at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, which also counted as the world championships.
This is also Canada’s fourth medal at these World Championships, making it the country’s most successful alpine world championships. She joins James Crawford, Cameron Alexander and the Mixed Team Parallel quartet as Team Canada’s newest superstars.
Racing in bib No. 18, St-Germain had already produced a brilliantly dynamic first run to sit in third. She was trailing leader Shiffrin by 0.61 seconds and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener by 0.42 seconds. In her second time down the hill, St-Germain skied aggressively to take the lead and put herself in position for her first world championship, with two rivals still to go.
Holdener unfortunately crashed out of the race. Heavy favourite, Shiffrin was looking for another title for her record, but made too many mistakes at the top of her run and couldn’t find enough speed at the bottom to make up for it, finishing much slower than most competitors.
St-Germain’s previous best result at major championships was sixth in the slalom at the 2019 worlds. Sixth is also her best finish in a World Cup slalom, in Levi in 2020.
Toronto’s Ali Nullmeyer climbed six spots to place 12th of 43 finishers in 1:44.48 after sitting 18th following the opening run. Amelia Smart of North Vancouver, B.C., dropped to 24th from 17th, clocking 1:45.19.
Saturday’s race was the last women’s event of the world championships.