Austria's Matthias Mayer took gold in the men's downhill.
Austria's Matthias Mayer was the surprise winner of the men's downhill competition, while favorites Bode Miller and Aksel Lund Svindal failed to make the podium.
Mayer, the son of 1988 Olympic silver medalist Helmut Mayer, completed the course in a time of 2:06.23, then had to sweat out the runs of all the perceived contenders. He finished 0.06 seconds ahead of Italy's Christof Innerhofer, while Norway's Kjetil Jansrud was 0.1 seconds behind to earn the bronze.
Miller, the five-time Olympic medal winner who won bronze in this event at Vancouver in 2010, was 0.31 seconds ahead of Mayer's pace after two intervals but a tough go in the middle of the course spelled his doom. His time of 2:06.75 placed him in eighth.
Norway's Lund Svindal, the 2010 silver medalist, finished fourth at 2:06.52, while defending Olympic champion Didier Defago of Switzerland was 14th out of 50 skiers.
Gold: Matthias Mayer, Switzerland, 2:06.23
Silver: Christof Innerhofer, Italy, 2:06.29
Bronze: Kjetil Jansrud, Norway, 2:06.33
The downhill is one of more exciting events on the Olympic card. Austria, Norway, France, Germany and the United States all have skiers who can land on the podium.
The United States is led by Bode Miller. Even at age 36, he had a great winter, finishing third in the downhill at the latest World Cup. Ted Ligety, who hasn't performed well in the downhill in his recent starts, stands an outside shot at medaling. His last effort in Wengen netted him a 13th-place finish, but that wasn't even a World Cup event.
Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal will be the man to beat on the mountain. He's No. 1 in the world in the downhill and finished second and third at the last World Cups.
While Miller and Svindal will dominate the headlines, a talented pack of contenders will be in the event. Patrick Kueng of Switzerland is the one in this group to watch, as he has skied extremely well in the lead-up to Sochi.
Gold: Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway
Silver: Patrick Kueng, Switzerland
Bronze: Bode Miller, United States