Alpine skiing: Kriechmayr joins Miller and Maier with golden double

·3-min read
FIS Alpine World Ski Championships

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy (Reuters) - Austria's Vincent Kriechmayr won Sunday's showcase men's downhill by a hundredth of a second, the slimmest of margins, at the Alpine skiing world championships to complete a rare speed double on Italian snow.

The 29-year-old, who took gold in the men's super-G on Thursday, became only the third male skier after American Bode Miller (in 2005) and Austria's Hermann Maier (1999) to win both speed races at the same championships.

The Austrian, without a major title before arriving in Cortina, was first out of the hut and set a pace that ultimately proved unbeatable.

German veteran Andreas Sander was next down and almost snatched the gold, crossing the line 0.01 slower for his country's third surprise silver from four speed races at the championships.

Switzerland's Beat Feuz, the 2017 world champion, started seventh and had to settle for bronze with a time 0.18 slower than Kriechmayr's down the tricky new Vertigine piste on a sunny morning in the Dolomites.

"It was a difficult race, it was not perfect. I lost a lot of time on the last part of the race but I was pretty fast in the middle part," said Kriechmayr. "It was good enough and that's it.

"I already had a medal and now I wanted to show my best today. I wanted a second medal of course but gold is amazing."

Kriechmayr was the first Austrian downhill world champion since Michael Walchhofer in 2003. The Alpine nation have now won the title a record 17 times.

"They are both legends of course," he said of Miller and Maier. "I always was a fan of these two guys...I'm not a legend like these guys but I'm really proud."


Sander, who had never been higher than seventh in three previous championships, had felt he could spring a surprise but when he saw the scoreboard his immediate fear was of missing out on a medal in agonising fashion.

"I saw 100th, uh-oh. Hopefully, it's not the 100th for the medal," he said. "Then I saw the time and we were really fast (one minute and 37.80 seconds) and I thought oh, maybe it was a good one."

Italy's big home hope Dominik Paris, winner of the last World Cup downhill before Cortina, was equal fourth with Switzerland's Marco Odermatt.

Italian skiers have yet to medal after four races in the glamorous resort that is scheduled to co-host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Norway's 2019 world champion Kjetil Jansrud, who won his title by a 0.02 margin, finished eighth.

French skier Maxence Muzaton caused a commotion with an astonishing high-speed save after losing control and nearly crashing but somehow staying on his skis.

Germany's Romed Baumann, the super-G silver medallist, crashed under the padded barriers after crossing the finish line 14th. He re-emerged with blood across his face.

The championships continue on Monday, which would have been a scheduled rest day had the first three days not been blown out by bad weather, with men's and women's Alpine Combined events.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond)