Marco Odermatt wins downhill at Alpine skiing worlds, joined on podium by another surprise
Swiss Marco Odermatt is the world’s top-ranked super-G and giant slalom skier, but his first world championships medal, and gold medal, came in the downhill on Sunday.
Odermatt, the 2022 Olympic GS champion who has no World Cup downhill wins, sped to downhill gold by 48 hundredths of a second over Norwegian favorite Aleksander Aamodt Kilde in Courchevel, France.
“Wasn’t easy the last days after the disappointing super-G,” said Odermatt, who was fourth in Thursday’s super-G.
Kilde, who won five of the eight World Cup downhills this season, skied after Odermatt and led the Swiss by two tenths at the first intermediate split. But he steadily gave back time over the final 80 seconds of the course.
Canadian Cameron Alexander was the surprise bronze medalist in his first Olympic or world championships race. Alexander has one World Cup top five (a downhill win last March).
Erik Arvidsson was the top American in 17th.
Odermatt is ranked third in the world in downhill, but has no World Cup wins in the discipline among his eight career podiums.
None of the four speed event gold medalists at these worlds previously won a World Cup race in the discipline.
Women’s super-G winner Marta Bassino of Italy was ranked sixth in the world in the event this season. Women’s downhill winner Jasmine Flury of Switzerland was ranked 11th. Men’s super-G winner James Crawford of Canada was ranked 14th.
Switzerland now boasts the four reigning Olympic and world championships downhill gold medalists -- Corinne Suter, Beat Feuz, Flury and Odermatt.
Odermatt, 25, became the youngest world downhill champion since 2009 (Lindsey Vonn, John Kucera) and the youngest man to own individual Olympic and world championships gold medals across all disciplines since 2010 (Swiss Carlo Janka).
He did grow up idolizing a downhiller, Swiss Didier Cuche, who won two world championships silver medals in the event.
Alexander became the first man to win a world championships downhill medal in his first career world championships race since Swiss Urs Lehmann and American AJ Kitt in 1993. On Saturday, silver medalist Nina Ortlieb achieved that feat for the women for the first time since Selina Heregger in 2001.
Worlds continue Tuesday with the mixed-gender team parallel event, live on Peacock.
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