Slovak skier Petra Vlhova, Mikaela Shiffrin's main rival in slalom, crashed during the first run of the eventful Women's World Cup giant slalom on Saturday, falling down a hill with an apparent knee injury.
Vulova, who was racing in front of 10,000 spectators near her hometown in the Tatra Mountains, lost her balance when she turned left 14 seconds into her run.
The Olympic slalom champion adjusted his posture and initially avoided falling, but then he tipped backwards and fell sideways, sliding into the safety barrier.
Vlhova, the 2019 World GS Champion and 2021 overall winner over Shiffrin, received treatment along the course for several minutes before sledding down the hill. She waved to the spectators as she arrived at the finish area.
The extent of her injuries could not be immediately determined.
Italian skier Federica Brignone, who leads the GS season standings heading into the race, also fell early in the run, but was unharmed.
After the top finishers started, Olympic GS Champion Sara Hector took the lead. Shiffrin, who was second, had to close the gap by a second on the second run later Saturday.
Many competitors struggled on the Lukova 2 course due to the frozen surface, resulting in large time differences.
The race weekend in Slovakia also includes slalom on Sunday.
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