Marcel Hirscher reclaims slalom title, wraps up ‘perfect worlds’
Austrian Marcel Hirscher reclaimed the slalom world title, wrapping up what he called “the perfect world championships” with two golds and one silver in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Sunday.
Hirscher, the five-time reigning World Cup overall champion, prevailed by .68 of a second combining two runs. Fellow Austrian Manuel Feller earned silver, followed by German Felix Neureuther, .93 behind.
Hirscher’s biggest slalom rival, Henrik Kristoffersen, was a disappointing fourth, giving Norway fourth-place finishers in all five men’s events at worlds.
The top American was David Chodounsky in 12th.
Hirscher led by .43 after the morning run and had the third-fastest second run. He finished worlds with golds in the giant slalom and slalom and silver in the super combined, missing gold by .01. All that despite entering worlds sick, reportedly spending days ill in bed.
He said that super combined silver, and especially his maiden GS title, took the pressure off Sunday.
“It was super easy for me, mentally, to [go] into this race,” Hirscher said. “It doesn’t matter if I straddle at the first gate. The only thing that wouldn’t be fine is skiing slow.”
Hirscher is en route to his sixth straight World Cup overall title this season. No other man has won that many, consecutive or not. He previously won the slalom world title in 2013, then was upset at the Sochi Olympics, taking silver behind countryman Mario Matt, who at 34 became the oldest Olympic Alpine champion.
Hirscher led the 2015 Worlds slalom by .88 after the first run, then straddled a gate near the end of the second run while his lead was evaporating.
Hirscher has already proven his excellence on the World Cup and world championships stages. It’s PyeongChang where he must deliver, since he lacks Olympic gold. Hirscher is only 27 years old, but he has cast doubt on going all the way to the 2022 Winter Games.
Feller, 24, took surprise silver without a World Cup podium to his name.
Neureuther earned his third straight world slalom medal, but none have been gold.
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