Friday was another perfect day for ski racing at the Jeongseon Alpine Center. No wind and good snow once again set the stage for an epic day of speed racing as the men went to battle for the Olympic super-G title.
Austria’s Matthias Mayer rebounded from a disappointing downhill performance to claim his second career Olympic gold medal, taking the super-G ahead of silver medalist Beat Feuz of Switzerland and bronze medalist Kjetil Jansrud of Norway. Mayer also won downhill gold in Sochi 2014.
“Today is an amazing day!” Mayer shared after the race. “I just made the second last gate and then I saw the green light. It is most special.”
Most special indeed. Austria had not won the Olympic men’s super-G since the great Hermann Maier accomplished the feat 20 years ago at Nagano 1998. In fact, Mayer and Maier are the only two Austrian men to win the Olympic super-G. To make Friday’s victory all the more special, Mayer’s father, Hemlut, was the silver medalist in super-G’s Olympic debut all the way back at Calgary 1988.
Prior to Friday’s race, the Austrian speed team and Mayer himself did not have the success they were hoping for. On Monday, Mayer crashed and injured his hip after striking a drill left in the snow during the slalom portion of the alpine combined. In the downhill race, he only managed a ninth-place finish with his bruised hip and no other Austrians were close to the podium.
Mayer was the last of the Austrian starters in the super-G and no doubt felt the pressure of the entire ski-crazy nation on his shoulders. Navigating the tricky set that saw a number of the top racers fail to finish, Mayer managed to charge his way through the pain and pressure to claim Olympic gold once more.
“I wasn’t sure if I could start the downhill,” he admitted. “I was thinking to just concentrate on the super-G, but (the physios) made a really good job of fixing me. My hip is getting better. It’s still blue but it was good to ski today. I also want to thank my entire family. I can’t believe it. It is simply amazing that I captured again a gold medal.”
Feuz claimed silver after winning bronze in the downhill on Thursday. Although the Swiss has been the man to beat for much of this season in downhill, super-G has not been a strong suit for Feuz as of late with only one other podium to his name in the last two seasons.
“It was a great race for me,” said Feuz. “Second medal for these Olympic Games is really nice for me. That’s a dream for me. I hope in four years I come back for the gold medal. Yesterday was very special to win the bronze, but today to get the silver medal in a discipline where really I was nobody’s favorite, that was very special for me.”
The downhill’s silver medalist was Friday’s bronze medalist as the Norwegian Jansrud took his second medal in as many days. Although he was unable to defend his super-G gold from Sochi 2014 and keep the amazing streak of Norwegian super-G winners alive that stretched back to the Salt Lake 2002 Games when the great Kjetil Andre Aamodt took gold, Jansrud understood that the streak was bound to come to an end sooner or later.
“It’s a little special that you would keep that thing going and I think (today’s result) is more the normal way,” he said. “You try and sometimes you succeed and sometimes you don’t and I wished I skied a couple of tenths faster today, but also Matthias and Beat are worthy medal winners.”
“I didn’t feel very solid skiing down,” he added. “I think halfway through I skied good and then I started making a few mistakes, so coming out with a bronze medal is a very good day. That’s part of being an athlete. You want to aim for that gold and then you’re allowed to be a little bit disappointed right after the race, but then knowing in a few minutes you’ll also be very happy for the bronze because grabbing an Olympic medal, regardless, is a privilege and not something you can expect. It could have easily been fourth or fifth.”
The best American on the day was Ryan Cochran-Siegle in 14th. Jared Goldberg ended up in 24th and the other two Americans, Ted Ligety and defending silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht, did not see the finish.
On Saturday, the men will have a rest day and continue with giant slalom racing on Sunday.
- Matthias Mayer (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
- Beat Feuz (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
- Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
- Blaise Giezendanner (FRA) – Head/Head/Head
- Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
- Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Dominik Paris (ITA) – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- Andreas Sander (GER) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Dustin Cook (CAN) – Head/Head/Head
- Bostjan Kline (SLO) – Stoeckli/Head
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|5||9||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:24.93||+0.49||6.27|
|13||11||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:25.71||+1.27||16.24|
|29||35||380292||ZRNCIC DIM Natko||1986||CRO||1:27.05||+2.61||33.38|
|30||37||110324||VON APPEN Henrik||1994||CHI||1:27.57||+3.13||40.03|
|44||60||320391||KIM Dong Woo||1995||KOR||1:31.64||+7.20||92.09|
|45||61||54106||BREITFUSS KAMMERLANDER Simon||1992||BOL||1:31.69||+7.25||92.73|
|48||57||270047||MC MILLAN Patrick||1991||IRL||1:33.54||+9.10||116.39|
|Did not finish|
|Did not start|