Inside the FIS World Alpine Ski Championships
That’s more like it for the Austrian men at the Worlds.
Marcel Hirscher was an improbable 3.16 seconds off the pace in the Downhill section of the Men’s Super Combined, but as the first man down the Slalom course in Beaver Creek today, the Austrian set a blistering mark down the fresh course and held off the other 29 races to win gold.
After a sub-par showing in the Downhill portion, Hirscher did not have gold in his sights or thoughts. When asked by reporters if he thought he could get back into the mix for the podium by making up that much time, Hirscher was brutally honest and said, “Nope.”
Hirscher was 31st after the Downhill, but caught a break by being bumped up to 30th (that position is the first one to start the Slalom) when Ondrej Bank of the Czech Republic crashed and was disqualified for straddling a gate.
American Ted Ligety was also near the back of the pack, entering the Slalom section 29th, meaning he would be the second racer out of the starting gate. Ligety threw down an impressive run while the course was still holding up (the afternoon temperatures peaked in the mid-50s) and held onto a podium spot, earning the bronze medal.
“I just skied with reckless abandon in the slalom run and made some mistakes, somehow lucky enough to hold on for a medal,” said Ligety, who won three gold medals two years ago at the Worlds in Austria. “Pretty bizarre race, when you can go from 29th to the podium.”
Kjetil Jansrud was the Downhill leader, but the torn up and sun baked course coupled with being the 29th racer to start was too much to overcome as the Norwegian settled for silver.
Monday’s event is the Ladies’ Combined, with the action getting underway with the Dowhill at 10 am mountain time and concluding with the Slalom at 2:30 pm.
FanRag Sports Wants to Know:
Which country will win the most medals at the World Alpine Ski Championships?
Was today’s worst-to-first finish by Hirscher an indictment of the starting system or luck?
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