COURCHEVEL, France (AP) – Swiss skier Marko Odermat won gold in the men’s downhill on Sunday for his first career world championships medal.
Odermatt had a flawless ride on the demanding L’Eclipse course to beat Alexander Aamodt Kilde by 0.48 seconds as the Norwegian added to his silver in the super-G on Thursday.
Cameron Alexander finished 0.89 back to take bronze for Canada’s second medal at the worlds after teammate James Crawford won the super-G.
Odermatt let out a few screams after posting the fastest time. He has not won a medal in eight previous starts at the senior world championships, after winning five golds at the 2018 junior world championships.
“It was definitely something I’ve never felt before, this scream at the finish line,” Odermatt said. “Also, those two minutes during Alex’s run, I was shaking like never before.”
Odermatt is the defending overall World Cup champion and is dominating the course again this season, but has not previously won the downhill.
His gold medal came three days after he finished fourth in the super-G, an event in which he was heavily favored after winning four of this season’s six World Cup races.
“Fourth place from three days ago makes this gold even nicer,” Odermatt said.
Super-G winner Crawford was third for some time in Sunday’s race before his time was beaten by team-mate Alexander and Austrian Marco Schwarz, who finished four hundredths of a second off the podium in fourth.
It is the first time since 2015 that the men’s national team of Austria failed to win a medal at the world championship.
Defending champion Vincent Kriechmayr lost his chance for a medal as he struggled in the Trou Noir (Black Hole), where runners jump in dark shade and cannot see ruts and bumps on the course.
“It was a good drive, but here you have to race without mistakes and I didn’t do that. Overall, it’s just not good enough,” Kriechmayr said. “Odermatt had a perfect run, for sure.”
The start of the L’Eclipse course is in the sun, but runners soon enter a longer shaded middle section through the forest before re-emerging into the sun for the finish.
On another bright day in the French Alps, the sun didn’t affect the race like it did on Saturday in the women’s downhill, when the sun began to shine on the Roc de Fer course in Meribel and seemed to tear down the course and slow down the late starters. Odermatt’s victory became a Swiss downhill after Jasmine Flury won the women’s race.
The race was stopped for 20 minutes after Brodie Seger made an awkward jump and apparently injured his right knee. The Canadian had to be taken down the hill on a stretcher and was airlifted to hospital.
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