Matthias Mayer won gold on his Olympic debut in the men's downhill skiing.
Austrian Matthias Mayer stormed to Olympic gold in the men's downhill skiing as he held off Christof Innerhofer and Kjetil Jansrud.
But pre-race favourites Bode Miller and Aksel Lund Svindal could not live up to expectations as they finished down the field.
Mayer, making his Olympic bow, was joined on the podium by Italian Innerhofer in silver and Norwegian Jansrud in bronze, as indicated by WSJ Sports:
Austrian Matthias Mayer wins the men's downhill. Christoff Innerhofer of Italy (silver) and Kjeitel Jansrud of Norway (bronze). #Sochi— WSJ Sports (@WSJSports) February 9, 2014
Sochi 2014 provided this photo of the crowd as they took in Mayer's performance:
And the super-G specialist joins his father Helmut Mayer, who won silver in Calgary in 1988, in winning an Olympic medal.
Mayer had been an outside bet for a medal after winning the second downhill training run on Friday, and the Austrian continued his excellent form as he set the early pace with 2.06.23, shaving one-tenth of a second off Jansrud's time.
|4.||Aksel Lund Svindal||Norway||2:06.52|
American legend Miller led by 0.31 seconds going following the second split, but the bronze medalist from Vancouver hit a couple of gates and could not recover as he finished outside the medals. The New York Times' Sports provides his take on the slip-up:
Bode Miller: "The lower visibility hurt me more than most guys. I ski on the edge and had to change things from the training runs."— NYT Olympics (@SochiNYT) February 9, 2014
Mayer continued to see off the pre-competition favourites as Svindal finished 0.29 seconds behind the Austrian. The Norwegian skier was the big favourite going into Sochi and was bidding to become the first Norwegian to prevail in the men's downhill.
Innerhofer almost snatched the lead from Mayer as he stormed down the slope to get within 0.6 seconds of the Austrian. Innerhofer had been ahead following the first three splits, but he screamed with delight as he went through the finish line in silver-medal position.
Reigning champion and the oldest man in the field, Didier Defago, was ahead going through the second split, but again it was the middle split that proved to be the biggest challenge as he slipped back down the field.
Defago would prove to be the final challenger to the young pretender, as Mayer was crowned men's downhill champion on his Olympic debut.