Sunday, February 8, 2015

It's Switzerland Time and Patrick Kueng is the Speed King of the World

Switzerland landed two skiers on the World Championship downhill podium for the first time since 2009 in Val d’Isere when Didier Cuche and Carlo Janka shared the honor. But Bruno Kernen in 1997 was the last Swiss male to capture gold in a World Championships downhill.
Patrick Kueng (SUI) was joined on the podium by American Travis Ganong and Beat Feuz (SUI). It was a strong day for the host nation as Steve Nyman finished in fourth place. It was the first World Championship medal for all three skiers in the day that was filled with surprises.
"For the Swiss and for me it’s unbelievable to have two Swiss on the podium", said Feuz after the race. "This year in Wengen it was the same and now here on the Birds of Prey, it’s perfect".
 "Winning the downhill was a long time coming", said Kueng. "Sestriere in 1997 was a long time ago and of course for our federation and ski team, it was a great achievement. We have been working very hard for it. It is not very easy, sometimes to ski and to achieve your potential because it’s Switzerland and there is a lot of pressure, but I think now the climate was perfect to help us achieve this great race today".
"Sometimes I have not had a good feeling on this hill", added Kueng. "You have to go fast and you have to go with a lot of aggressiveness. But today for me was easy, and I have no mistakes and the skis go really fast. I didn’t have to push the limit, it was the key to go fast to the finish".
Many of the big names bowed out allowing for the underdogs to steal the spotlight. Kueng’s has only one previous win at the World Cup level, which came in 2014 in Wengen (SUI). Meanwhile, Ganong’s previous highest finish at a World Championship was 18th and he just earned his first World Cup victory earlier this season in Santa Caterina. Feuz’s last World Cup downhill victory came in 2012.
"It’s a very good day", said Ganong after the race. "I just turned my brain off put a smile on my face, had some fun and made some good turns. It was almost a perfect run, but it’s definitely the perfect day".
Conversely, Feuz, finishing third, found taking risk was the only way to be fast at this World Championship medal event.
"I had to take chances to achieve a great race today", said Feuz. "If you are not, you cannot ski as fast and aggressive as I did. … I did a good run and for me to be on the podium and to share the podium together with Patrick Kueng was really amazing".
Kueng finished 0.24 ahead of the pack, but the rest of the top six were packed together as a mere 0.21 separated the next five skiers.

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