The alpine competitions of PyeongChang 2018 finally got underway on Tuesday with the men’s alpine combined. After the first two scheduled competitions, the men’s downhill and the women’s giant slalom, had to be pushed to Thursday due to high winds, racers were eager to get racing after the delays.

After a blustery day of racing, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher finally achieved the only thing that had eluded him in his illustrious career: Olympic gold.

The wind that had plagued the previous two days of racing had not disappeared completely, however, as the downhill portion was started from the super-G start, giving some advantage to the technical skiers over the speed skiers. Additionally, the course set was altered some in order to not go over the highest parts of the jumps and reduce air time with the goal of minimizing the risk in case of wind gusts.

German racer Thomas Dressen, who won this year’s Hahnenkamm race in Kitzbuehl, started the downhill with bib one and set a pace  that went unmatched. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal came as close as 0.07 seconds, but the Attacking Viking chose to not start in the slalom to preserve his still-recovering knee for the upcoming speed events.

Dressen was satisfied with his performance in the downhill but was aware that given his lack of slalom skills, his chances for a medal were small.

“It wasn’t something special but solid,” he told Germany’s ARD TV after his run. “I have to attack 100 percent now in the slalom and then see what it is worth in the end.”

There was some uncertainty over whether Hirscher would choose to start the combined over more preparation for the tech events leading up to Tuesday’s race. Hirscher answered those questions and more, ranking 12th after an impressive downhill run and was more than happy with his speed portion.

Hirscher was impressive in his downhill run. Image Credit: GEPA Pictures/Mathias Mandl

“Being in the top 30 told me and my team that we made the right decision with starting in the combine,” he said. “Because if you are in the top 30, you have a chance for the medals.”

Hirscher did admit that his decision to start in the alpine combined was a risk, however.

“Henrik Kristoffersen is training five days of slalom and five days of giant slalom,” he explained. “In contrast, I am here on my downhill skis, so what if I end up 20th in the giant slalom? Everyone would question my decision to race this alpine combined.”

In the end, his risk paid off and the Austrian won his first Olympic gold medal. “Now we know it was the right decision,” he added.

Hirscher raced a strong slalom run, battling swirling winds and ankle-high blizzards, and finished 0.23 and 1.02 seconds ahead of French duo Alexis Pinturault and Victor Muffat-Jeandet, respectively, giving France their first combined medals since the 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Dressen could only manage a ninth-place finish after his slalom run.

Hirscher admitted that Tuesday’s competition favored the technical skiers overall, with a shortened downhill and a challenging slalom run playing heavily to his and the other technical skier’s strengths.

The top American was Ted Ligety in fifth, finishing 1.45 seconds behind Hirscher after a strong slalom portion of his own. Ligety ranked only 24th after the downhill and also relied on his skills as a tech skier, but was a little bit frustrated with the wind conditions.

“I know it’s an outdoor sport, so it’s okay, but especially in the downhill, where I think the impact is bigger, some starters had tailwinds and some, like me, got a little bit of headwind,” said Ligety, who otherwise saw the day as chance to earn a medal himself.

Bryce Bennett was the next best American in 17th, followed by Jared Goldberg in 36th who sat ninth after the downhill but was hung up in his slalom run. Ryan Cochran-Siegle crashed early in his downhill run but was able to ski away uninjured.

Could this be one of the last Olympic combined podiums? Image Credit: GEPA Pictures/Matic Klansek

Tuesday’s alpine combined was possibly the last combined to be held at the Olympic Games as the FIS has flirted with the idea of eliminating the discipline in the future, making the outlook for the event uncertain.

All three medal winners, however, do not think this is a good idea. Silver medalist and four-time combined crystal globe winner Pinturault said the event has too much history for it to disappear.

“Combined is a historic discipline,” said Pinturault. “It’s going to be a shame if they stop it. It’s the only discipline where the best downhill guys can compete against the best tech guys.”

Historically, the combined discipline has been an on and off event for the Olympics. The format has also changed over time with the current configuration of one run of downhill and one run of slalom adopted for the 2010 Games in Vancouver. In the 1936 Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, not only did alpine skiing make its debut as an Olympic competition, but combined was the only alpine skiing event.

“I think keeping the alpine combine in the program but instead of a downhill make it a super-G run,” added Hirscher. “That saves the days of downhill training.”

Transitioning to a super-G run in the future could also lead to more interest for the competition from the athletes themselves, although it would likely favor technical skiers more and further push speed skiers out of the discipline.

On Wednesday, it’s the women’s turn to compete for gold with the slalom scheduled to take place. The men will continue competition on Thursday with the rescheduled downhill race, which will take place in between runs of the rescheduled women’s giant slalom.


Top 10

  1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  2. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Head/Head/Head
  3. Victor Muffat-Jeandet (FRA) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  4. Marco Schwarz (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  5. Ted Ligety (USA) – Head/Head/Head
  6. Thomas Mermillod Blondin (FRA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  7. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
  8. Stefan Hadalin (SLO) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  9. Thomas Dressen (GER) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  10. Klemen Kosi (SLO) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  2  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  1:20.56  45.96  2:06.52  0.00
 2  7  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  1:20.28  46.47  2:06.75  +0.23  2.09
 3  5  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA  1:21.57  45.97  2:07.54  +1.02  9.27
 4  23  54320 SCHWARZ Marco 1995 AUT  1:20.98  46.89  2:07.87  +1.35  12.27
 5  27  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA  1:21.36  46.61  2:07.97  +1.45  13.18
 6  14  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas 1984 FRA  1:20.89  47.13  2:08.02  +1.50  13.63
 7  19  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil 1985 NOR  1:19.51  49.16  2:08.67  +2.15  19.54
 8  33  561322 HADALIN Stefan 1995 SLO  1:21.15  47.79  2:08.94  +2.42  22.00
 9  1  202535 DRESSEN Thomas 1993 GER  1:19.24  49.72  2:08.96  +2.44  22.18
 10  29  561217 KOSI Klemen 1991 SLO  1:20.61  48.76  2:09.37  +2.85  25.90
 11  6  511983 AERNI Luca 1993 SUI  1:21.34  48.18  2:09.52  +3.00  27.27
 12  32  380335 ZUBCIC Filip 1993 CRO  1:21.54  48.06  2:09.60  +3.08  28.00
 12  13  511513 CAVIEZEL Mauro 1988 SUI  1:20.47  49.13  2:09.60  +3.08  28.00
 14  25  293006 INNERHOFER Christof 1984 ITA  1:19.77  49.98  2:09.75  +3.23  29.36
 15  30  511313 JANKA Carlo 1986 SUI  1:20.58  49.22  2:09.80  +3.28  29.81
 16  34  150743 BERNDT Ondrej 1988 CZE  1:21.81  48.10  2:09.91  +3.39  30.81
 17  16  6530104 BENNETT Bryce 1992 USA  1:21.18  48.79  2:09.97  +3.45  31.36
 18  24  291318 TONETTI Riccardo 1989 ITA  1:21.99  48.22  2:10.21  +3.69  33.54
 19  21  380292 ZRNCIC DIM Natko 1986 CRO  1:22.07  48.48  2:10.55  +4.03  36.63
 20  47  104531 CRAWFORD James 1997 CAN  1:21.97  48.80  2:10.77  +4.25  38.63
 21  17  422139 KILDE Aleksander Aamodt 1992 NOR  1:20.92  50.15  2:11.07  +4.55  41.36
 22  40  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK  1:23.02  48.08  2:11.10  +4.58  41.63
 23  12  104096 THOMPSON Broderick 1994 CAN  1:21.75  49.63  2:11.38  +4.86  44.17
 24  37  180570 ROMAR Andreas 1989 FIN  1:21.94  49.58  2:11.52  +5.00  45.45
 25  35  310426 VUKICEVIC Marko 1992 SRB  1:21.31  50.43  2:11.74  +5.22  47.45
 26  50  550054 ZVEJNIEKS Kristaps 1992 LAT  1:23.02  48.74  2:11.76  +5.24  47.63
 27  38  20398 VERDU Joan 1995 AND  1:23.01  49.53  2:12.54  +6.02  54.72
 28  54  370022 JENOT Olivier 1988 MON  1:22.71  50.73  2:13.44  +6.92  62.90
 29  51  20324 OLIVERAS Marc 1991 AND  1:21.67  52.97  2:14.64  +8.12  73.81
 30  41  170131 FAARUP Christoffer 1992 DEN  1:21.08  54.13  2:15.21  +8.69  78.99
 31  52  670037 ZAKURDAEV Igor 1987 KAZ  1:22.29  53.18  2:15.47  +8.95  81.35
 32  49  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor 1985 HUN  1:25.17  50.77  2:15.94  +9.42  85.62
 33  60  320391 KIM Dong Woo 1995 KOR  1:24.02  53.02  2:17.04  +10.52  95.62
 34  57  660021 DANILOCHKIN Yuri 1991 BLR  1:22.78  55.94  2:18.72  +12.20  110.89
 35  59  240139 KEKESI Marton 1995 HUN  1:26.08  53.94  2:20.02  +13.50  122.71
 36  28  934643 GOLDBERG Jared 1991 USA  1:20.02  1:02.86  2:22.88  +16.36  148.70
 37  61  942023 TAHIRI Albin 1989 KOS  1:23.84  59.56  2:23.40  +16.88  153.43
Did not finish 2nd run
 63  270047 MC MILLAN Patrick 1991 IRL  1:25.77
 62  54106 BREITFUSS KAMMERLANDER Simon 1992 BOL  1:22.94
 56  690694 KOVBASNYUK Ivan 1993 UKR  1:24.21
 55  700868 FALAT Matej 1993 SVK  1:23.21
 48  430472 KLUSAK Michal 1990 POL  1:22.64
 46  151215 FOREJTEK Filip 1997 CZE  1:22.56
 43  422082 FOSS-SOLEVAAG Sebastian 1991 NOR  1:24.35
 39  151238 ZABYSTRAN Jan 1998 CZE  1:23.65
 36  350095 PFIFFNER Marco 1994 LIE  1:22.54
 31  202451 STRASSER Linus 1992 GER  1:22.03
 22  194167 MUZATON Maxence 1990 FRA  1:20.58
 20  53980 KRIECHMAYR Vincent 1991 AUT  1:19.96
 18  561255 CATER Martin 1992 SLO  1:20.57
 15  511896 MURISIER Justin 1992 SUI  1:21.58
 11  53902 MAYER Matthias 1990 AUT  1:19.37
 10  291459 PARIS Dominik 1989 ITA  1:20.01
 9  292455 FILL Peter 1982 ITA  1:19.92
Disqualified 2nd run
 53  310421 STEVOVIC Marko 1996 SRB  1:24.47
Did not start 2nd run
 64  103271 THOMSEN Benjamin 1987 CAN  1:21.36
 58  54117 HOERL Christopher 1989 MDA  1:22.25
 45  200379 SANDER Andreas 1989 GER  1:21.68
 44  202059 FERSTL Josef 1988 GER  1:21.95
 42  110324 VON APPEN Henrik 1994 CHI  1:21.16
 26  561216 KLINE Bostjan 1991 SLO  1:22.42
 8  421328 SVINDAL Aksel Lund 1982 NOR  1:19.31
Did not finish 1st run
 65  102899 OSBORNE-PARADIS Manuel 1984 CAN
 4  6530319 COCHRAN-SIEGLE Ryan 1992 USA
 3  481327 TRIKHICHEV Pavel 1992 RUS
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Monica Huebner
Editorial Intern
- Monica is a native of Garmisch-Partenkrichen, Germany, and skied for SC Garmisch before a stint with the German national ski team. She eventually became an NCAA athlete at the University of Denver where she won the individual NCAA slalom title in 2015 and a team championship in 2016.
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