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Henrik Kristoffersen wins ski worlds slalom; Greece gets first winter sports medal ever

Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen rallied from 16th place to take home gold Sunday at the 2023 Alpine World Championships.

Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen rallied from 16th place after the first run to win the world Alpine skiing championships slalom.

AJ Ginnis took silver for Greece’s first Olympic or world championships medal in any Winter Olympic program event, according to the International Ski Federation.

A technically demanding first section of the second run wreaked havoc in the final event of the two-week worlds in Courchevel, France.


Kristoffersen, 28, mastered it for his second world title and first in his primary event. Kristoffersen has 23 World Cup slalom wins, fourth in men’s history, and until Sunday was the only man or woman with more than 11 World Cup slalom victories who had not won an Olympic or world title in the event.

He had to wait in the leader’s chair for nearly a half-hour while the 15 skiers went who were faster than him in the first run.

“It’s way worse sitting at the bottom, waiting, than standing at the start, leading after the first run,” said Kristoffersen, the 2019 World giant slalom champion who in previous Olympic and world championships slaloms had finishes of third, third, fourth, fourth and fourth. “I won most things in slalom except Olympic gold and world championship gold. So, I think it was about time.”

Ginnis, also 28, raced for the U.S. at the 2017 Worlds, then was dropped from the national team after the 2017-18 season following several injuries and a best World Cup finish of 26th.

He switched to his birth nation of Greece, where he had learned to ski at Mount Parnassus, a 2 ½-hour drive from Athens. He moved to Austria at age 12 and then Vermont three years after that.

Ginnis, whose had six knee surgeries, tore an ACL last year and thought he was done with ski racing when he went to Beijing to work the Olympics for NBC. That experience lit a fire.

On Feb. 4, Ginnis finished second in the last World Cup slalom before worlds after never previously finishing in the top 10 of a World Cup race.

“When I came back, I told myself, my goal is to go into the next Olympic cycle being a medal contender,” he said. “Fighting back from injuries, getting cut from teams, trying to fundraise for what we’re doing now. ... This is a dream come true on every level.”

Ginnis does not blame the U.S. team for letting him go.

“All credit to them,” he said after placing second in the first run Sunday. “They did develop me. I think for me it was like a will of wanting to ski for my home country because I did grow up there and then for them, I was a really injured athlete. So I don’t blame them at all for cutting the team when they did. It sure made things harder for me.”

Italian Alex Vinatzer earned bronze, which ensured Norway finished worlds with the most medals outright for the first time in history.

Austria won zero golds at a worlds for the first time since 1987, missing its last chance when first-run leader Manuel Feller finished tied for seventh on Sunday.

Luke Winters was the top American in 30th.

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup season resumes next weekend with a giant slalom and slalom in Palisades Tahoe, California.

Mikaela Shiffrin‘s next races are the first weekend in March at a World Cup stop in Kvitfjell, Norway. She is one World Cup victory shy of the career record of 86 held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark, a slalom and giant slalom star of the 1970s and ‘80s.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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