Alessandro Trovati/Associated Press
Swiss skier Sandro Viletta won his country's first-ever gold in the super combined.
Sandro Viletta (pictured above) was the surprise winner of the men's super combined competition Friday afternoon at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center, becoming the first-ever Swiss winner in a combined Alpine event.
Sitting in 14th place after the downhill portion of the event earlier in the day, Viletta skied the slalom in 50.32 seconds, the second-best time of any competitor. His total time of 2:45.20 was 0.34 seconds ahead of Croatia's Ivica Kostelic, who also won silver in this event at both the 2010 and 2006 Games.
Kostelic was in seventh after the downhill, but he lost all of his advantage over Viletta early on in the slalom. He did manage to hold off Italy's Christof Innerhofer, whose time of 2:45.67 gave him the bronze after he won the silver in the downhill event a few days earlier.
Prior to Viletta, the top Swiss men's performance in an Olympic combined event came in 1948, when Karl Molitor earned the silver at St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Defending Olympic combined champion Bode Miller of the United States was unable to overcome a rough downhill run, only moving up from 12th to sixth after the downhill. Fellow American Ted Ligety, the 2006 Olympic gold medalist in the combined, finished in 12th place, one-tenth of a second behind U.S. skier Jared Goldberg.
Gold: Sandro Viletta, Switzerland
Silver: Ivica Kostelic, Croatia
Bronze: Christof Innerhofer, Italy
Ted Ligety, not his more famous American teammate Bode Miller, is the favorite to win the men's super combined gold medal in alpine skiing.
But as with everything in Alpine skiing, Ligety is no lock. Miller is the defending Olympic champion in the super combined, and he's stinging from a disappointing eighth-place finish in the downhill competition earlier in the week. Ligety, who will be making his Sochi debut, finished first and second, respectively, in two World Cup super combined races last month.
Ligety also won the gold in super combined in the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, when the event consisted of one downhill run and two slalom runs, which favored Ligety because he's a slalom specialist. Now the event consists of only single runs in both downhill and slalom.
Alexis Pinturault of France and others may have something say about who takes the gold and the other medals as well, with much possibly depending on the luck of the draw. Miller told The Denver Post that going later in the draw works against skiers because warm weather conditions soften up the snow so much after others make their runs.
Gold: Ted Ligety, United States
Silver: Bode Miller, United States
Bronze: Alexis Pinturault, France