Pyeongchang 2018

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Sweden’s Andre Myhrer grabs Slalom gold

Swedish veteran Andre Myhrer sprung a big surprise winning the Olympic gold in men’s slalom as Marcel Hirscher and first-run leader Henrik Kristoffersen failed to finish the race.

The 35-year-old completed the two runs in 1 minute 38.99 seconds.

Switzerland’s Ramon Zenhausern clinched silver 0.34 second behind, with Austria’s Michael Matt taking bronze.

Hirscher, who won the giant slalom and Alpine combined, failed in his bid for a third gold at PyeongChang 2018 after an unusual mistake in the first leg saw him miss a gate.

Instead it was Myhrer who finally had his golden Olympic moment at Yongpyong Alpine Centre, watching in the finish area as Kristoffersen skied out early in the second run.

No third gold for Hirscher  

All eyes pre-race were on Hirscher.

The Austrian has dominated the slalom for the past six years.

Hirscher has won six of his eight World Cup slaloms this season with Kristoffersen finishing second or third in all six of them.

But on Thursday, Hirscher lost control after a few tight turns, his right ski flailing high in the air.

He came to a halt and did not complete the course.

‘I already had a bad feeling about the whole situation,’ said Hirscher.

‘This is the end result of a few training days and a few training runs where I couldn’t find any speed.’

The 28-year-old was hoping to become the first male alpine skier to clinch three Olympic gold medals at one Games since France’s Jean-Claude Killy in 1968.

How the race was won  

Kristoffersen produced a nearly flawless first run, racing through the 66 gates in an impressive 47.72 seconds with Myhrer only 0.21 seconds behind and Victor Muffat-Jeandet from France, bronze medallist in the combined, in third.

But it was Ramon Zenhausern who was on fire in the second run.

The unmistakable Swiss, who is 2 metres (6 feet 7″) tall came storming down the hill to move up from ninth into the leading position.

With two men left to go, Zenhausern was still in the gold-medal spot. Even he himself could scarcely believe it.

But Myhrer delivered at the crucial moment.

His second run was nowhere near as quick as his first, but it was still good enough to move him into the gold-medal place.

Attention turned to Kristoffersen.

After only six turns, the Norwegian’s chance was over.

Like Hirscher before him, the 23-year-old made an early mistake and missed a gate.

His anguish was all too evident; Kristoffersen punching the air as gold slipped from his grasp.

Instead, the moment belonged to Myhrer.

Myhrer’s golden day

Myhrer has been on the World Cup circuit since January 2004.

He finished fourth in the slalom at his first Olympic appearance 2006 in Torino.

Four years later in Vancouver he was only tenth after the first run of the slalom, but produced the fastest time in the second to grab bronze.

Myhrer also won three medals at the World Championships in the team event.

The Swede described his emotions immediately after the race:

“It means everything. I’ve been training my whole life for a moment like this…

“I’ve been always dreaming about the gold medal and now it’s a reality and I’m totally blown away.”

 

 

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