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OLYMPICS

Victorious Viktoria puts Germany in top spot

Germany consolidated its place on top of the Olympic Games medal table on Thursday thanks to a gold won by Viktoria Rebensburg in the women's giant slalom, her country's first in the event for 54 years.

Victorious Viktoria puts Germany in top spot
Photo: DPA

The 20-year-old Olympic debutante sprang a huge surprise to upset the field and win the weather-affected event ahead of Slovenia’s Tina Maze and overnight leader Elisabeth Görgl of Austria.

“I have had a look at the medal table,” said Rebensburg, whose previous best finish on the elite World Cup circuit was a second in this season’s giant slalom in Cortina.

“I’m happy to have contributed a medal to that. It’s cool – pretty awesome,” she said.

Germany, with an overall haul of 28 from eight gold, 10 silver and seven bronze, now stands clear of both the US and Canadian teams, who have won seven golds apiece.

Rebensburg overshadowed better-known team mates Maria Riesch, who last week won super-combined gold, and Kathrin Hoelzl, the leader of World Cup giant slalom standings.

“She should experience this moment, right now in this moment,” Riesch said of Rebensburg. “Because it all goes by like a film and tonight she will shake her head and wonder what happened.”

Rebensburg, a former world junior champion, admitted that she had been under less stress than her team-mates and rivals.

“I don’t think I had as much pressure as the top three but I know I can ski fast and win a race, so I made my own pressure.

“I was able to accelerate in the last part. If you don’t take any risks, you won’t win anything.

“I was able to show I could do it with the podium in Cortina. Everything just came together here. It’s just fabulous to get a medal.

“It’s unbelievable,” said the German. “I don’t know what to say. It just sounds so strange.

“It’s going to take a few days to sink in. I just want to enjoy the ceremony and the rest of the day. We’ll celebrate tonight.”

Silver medallist Maze became the first Slovenian to win two Olympic medals after also claiming a silver in the super-G.

“Yeah, I did want gold,” acknowledged Maze, who missed out by just four-hundredths of a second.

“It was my wish today, but still it is a silver medal and I won two medals in this Olympics. It’s a big deal. It’s a big day for me.”

Görgl added bronze to her third-placed effort in the downhill, but refused to rise to the bait on why her male team-mates were failing to bother the medal engravers.

“Ask the guys,” she said. “You’re asking me questions I cannot explain!”

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OLYMPICS

Germany’s Interior Minister rules out ‘unthinkable’ bid to host 2036 Olympics

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has ruled out a bid to host the 2036 Olympics, saying in an interview that it would be "unthinkable" on the 100th anniversary of the Nazi-era 1936 Games in Berlin.

Germany's Interior Minister rules out 'unthinkable' bid to host 2036 Olympics
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. Photo: DPA

Held three years before the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1936 games are widely remembered as a propaganda coup for Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

In March this year, Berlin's state minister of the interior Andreas Geisel faced heavy criticism after he appeared to suggest Berlin should bid for the 2036 Olympics in an interview with Tagesspiegel newspaper.

However, the 69-year-old Seehofer, whose ministry also holds the sports portfolio, said Germany could not be seen to celebrate the centenary of the Nazi-era Berlin Olympics.

“It would be unthinkable. If we did that, we would bring on an unspeakable international discussion and harm the Olympic idea,” he told Frankfurt-based newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an interview published on Monday.

“How would people see it across the world? Germany celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Nazi Olympics? That cannot happen.”

Aside from concerns over associations with the Nazi regime, there is scant public support for hosting the Olympics in Germany.

READ ALSO: Interior Ministry begs for more cash after 'forgetting' landmark reunification celebration

Public referendums, in 2015 and 2013, rejected proposed Olympic bids to host the summer games in Hamburg and a winter edition in Munich respectively.

Seehofer said that he was generally in favour of a German Olympic bid, but voiced concern that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had become too focused on commercial success.

“In the eyes of the public, the IOC has wandered too far from its original idea and into commercialism,” he told the FAZ.

He called on the IOC to “de-commercialise” and said he had “a lot of sympathy” for the German Athletes' Commission, which last year demanded that the IOC share a quarter of its profits with Olympic participants.

By Kit Holden

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