Probably not a coincidence that Maze, Fenninger and Rebensburg all have won Olympic golds in the past.
“You’ve got to be the strongest mentally on days like today,” said American Resi Stiegler, who was 29th.
The 30-year-old Maze, who earned silvers in the giant slalom and super-G at the 2010 Olympics, is quite close to already having four medals in Sochi. She was fourth in the super-combined, and fifth in the super-G — in each instance, merely a 10th of a second out of third place.
Between Tuesday’s GS runs, Maze watched some of Slovenia’s 4-0 victory over Austria to reach the quarterfinals in men’s hockey.
“The guys were so good, they just gave me this will to show even more,” Maze said.
One noteworthy absence from the giant slalom was Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, who has a gold and silver from the Sochi Olympics but has breathing problems from a cold and is hoping that rest will allow her to be ready for the slalom.
It’s hardly surprising someone might get sick, given the way the weather swung from sunny and above 50 degrees (10 Celsius) last week to damp and dank and about 32 degrees (0 Celsius) on Tuesday.
And yet Maze seemed to enjoy it. When she crossed the finish line and saw on the scoreboard that she’d won, she belly-flopped onto the slushy snow and pretended to swim the breaststroke.
“We are all wet, so I said, ‘Why not?’” Maze said. “It’s been a great day for me.”