Alpine skiing world championships: Vincent Kriechmayr takes men's downhill to back up super-G win
The 29-year-old, who won the men's super-G on Thursday, beat Andreas Sander by 0.01 of a second. There was drama earlier in the run, as Maxence Muzaton produced one of the most sensational recoveries seen in Alpine skiing as he caught an edge racing at 70mph and tumbled over but somehow managed to land back on his skis in reverse.
CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, ITALY - FEBRUARY 14: Vincent Kriechmayr of Austrua competes during the FIS World Ski Championships Men's Downhill on February 14, 2021 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Austria's Vincent Kriechmayr won Sunday's showcase men's downhill by the slimmest of margins at the Alpine skiing world championships to complete a rare speed double on Italian snow.
The 29-year-old, who won the men's super-G on Thursday, beat Andreas Sander by 0.01 of a second according to provisional results. The silver medal was Germany's third from four races at the championships.
Switzerland's Beat Feuz, the 2017 downhill world champion, had to settle for bronze with a time 0.18 slower than Kriechmayr's down the tricky Vertigine piste.
There was drama earlier in the run, as Maxence Muzaton produced one of the most sensational recoveries seen in Alpine skiing as he caught an edge racing at 70mph and tumbled over but somehow managed to land back on his skis in reverse.
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Kriechmayr is only the third male skier after American Bode Miller (in 2005) and Austria's Hermann Maier (1999) to win both the super-G and downhill at the same world championships.
The Austrian was first out of the start hut and set a pace that ultimately proved unbeatable.
Germany's Sander was next down and almost took the title, crossing the line 0.01 slower for his country's third surprise silver from four speed races at the championships.
Switzerland's 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."
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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 and now to be on the same step is...not a legend like these guys but I'm really proud."
Sander said he had felt he could spring a surprise but when he saw the time gap on the scoreboard his immediate fear was that he might miss out on a medal by that amount.
"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.
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Italian skiers have yet to win a 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.
Germany's Romed Baumann, the super-G silver medallist, crashed into the padded barriers after crossing the finish line 14th and disappeared from view. He re-emerged with cuts to his face and nose.