Norwegian skiers have been dominating both cross-country and men’s alpine competition for years, but one branch of the sport has been a source of frustration. That changed on Tuesday, when Nina Løseth won Norway’s first World Cup alpine victory in more than 13 years.
Løseth sped down the slopes of Santa Caterina in Italy faster than any other women competing in the slalom race Tuesday afternoon. She won by a margin of 1.12 seconds ahead of Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic, quite a lot in the world of downhill skiing where tiny fractions of a second separate winners from losers.
“I’m a bit shocked,” the 26-year-old Loseth from Sunnmøre exclaimed when it was all over. “This is just fantastic.” Her proud mother Sissel Løseth was crying tears of victory and told state broadcaster NRK that the entire family had been “waiting a very long time for this.” Sissel Løseth and her husband Terje have raised four alpine skiing daughters, and Nina’s performance on Tuesday marked their first World Cup victory.
Injuries stopped the racing careers of two of Løseth’s sisters, Lene and Mona, and the youngest, Lisa, quit racing professionally in 2011. Nina kept at it despite injuries of her own. “We didn’t know whether she’d come back,” her mother told NRK. “But she was really determined to climb onto the winners’ podium. I am so proud of her.”