Monday, February 9, 2015

Marcel Hirscher Wins Vail-Beaver Creek 2015 Combined Gold

Marcel Hirscher’s took home his second-ever World Championship gold medal and his first-ever in the Alpine Combined.
Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud finished in second place thanks to his strong downhill run. After the downhill portion, Jansrud led the field with a time of 1:43:01. His impressive time saved the day for him in the slalom as his more than three-second lead evaporated at each interval. Jansrud was still in the green at the final interval, but when he crossed the finish line he saw red, finishing 0.19 seconds behind Hirscher.
American Ted Ligety finished in third place on the strength of his slalom run, giving the Americans their third medal at these home World Championships.
Hirscher’s victory is even more remarkable considering he barely eked into the Top-30, finishing in 30th place in the downhill over three seconds off the pace. The 30th place secured Hirscher the first starting place on the slalom run, which proved to be more than beneficial as the sunny skies slowly softened the slope. Only Ligety came close to matching Hirscher’s amazing slalom run time, and he was still 0.43 seconds slower.
"It is unbelievable two days ago I was debating if it made sense to start in the Super combined since my downhill training times weren’t too fast, but it seems I made a good decision. In the second run I was definitely lucky to be the first to go down", Hirscher said. "I don’t think anyone expected me to win today. I entered this championship with the goal of winning one medal of any color so anything that happens from here on out is a big bonus".
Ondrej Bank's misfortune and subsequent disqualification also had an effect on the outcome of the race. Marcel Hirscher, who finished the downhill 31st on paper, was bumped into 30th position and thus started first in the flip for slalom.
"No, I wouldn’t have won with (start) number 31", Hirscher said after the race. "But you always need luck to be in the first position. … (Bank) is a really nice guy and I wish him all the best and I hope he is coming back really soon. He showed us so many times that he is that strong to come back from injuries, so all the best and good wishes for him".
The silver is Jansrud’s first-ever World Championship medal and ends a frustrating run for him here in Vail that saw him barely miss the podium in the Super-G (fourth place) and finish well off the mark with an injured shouder in the downhill despite being an early favorite.
"It was a special day for me considering coming into the speed races and not getting anything in return", Jansrud said. "I don’t know where that slalom run came from, I’m not training any slalom these days, I knew I had a big lead going into the slalom and I knew there was a slim chance of getting a medal if I had a really good run".Marcel Hirscher says luck helped him win in the combined, but Kjetil Jansrud credits Hirscher's skill. "Many people can call it luck, but I don’t believe in luck", said Jansrud. "And I think that (Hirscher) was 30th because he’s a good skier and he makes that cut and then he gets that advantage … by starting one, he uses that advantage to ski fast and thus we have a winner that deserves the win".
It was Ligety’s sixth-ever World Championship medal and his second in the Alpine Combined, which he won in 2013 in Schladming. Hirscher’s teammate Romed Baumann just barely missed the podium, ending one spot lower than he did in Schladming, in fourth place.
"Any medal is a good medal", said Ligety after the race "I’m really surprised to be on the podium after my downhill run. I just went out and skied with reckless abandon in the slalom. It’s a pretty bizarre race that I made podium after finishing 29th in the downhill".

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