2014 Olympic Alpine Skiing: Preview and Predictions for Men's Super-G
The super-G, also known as the super giant, is one of the most exciting events at the Winter Olympics. It is a hybrid combination of the downhill competition and the slalom. As if traversing down a slope at top speed was not difficult enough, skiers also have to navigate between gates spread out like a slalom course.
Because it is a timed event, skiers are racing against the clock, but also battling the biggest adversary—the mountain itself. To take home a medal in the super-G, the athletes must have tremendous athleticism, stamina and strategy. With some very sharp turns on the course, split-second decisions must be made.
Taking a tight corner may shave off a precious hundredth of a second and could be the deciding factor between gold and silver. But take the turn too quickly, and you run the risk of a dreaded "DNF" next to your name.
Read on as we take a look at the men's super-G competition.
Schedule, TV and Live Stream Info
The men's super-G competition is a must-watch event and embodies some of the most thrilling aspects of the Winter Olympics. For those watching stateside, the high-speed action is worth setting an alarm for.
Men's Super-G Viewing Info
Date: Feb. 16
Time: 2 a.m. ET
TV: Click here for TV listings.
Live stream: Available on the NBC Olympics website.
How Did We Get Here?
With the stretch of warm temperatures in Sochi wreaking havoc on the course conditions, the soft snow has caused an array of problems for some skiers. From two men's medal events so far in the Sochi Games, Team USA has yet to find a spot on the podium and will try to turn that around in the super-G.
In the downhill competition, Matthias Mayer turned in a sharp performance to bring home the gold for Austria in his Olympic debut. He finished ahead of Italy's Christof Innerhofer and Norway's Kjetil Jansrud.
Team USA continued to struggle in the super combined with the highly regarded Bode Miller finishing a disappointing sixth. Switzerland's Sandro Viletta turned in a dominant performance to take the top spot over Croatian Ivica Kostelic. Innerhofer added another piece of hardware to his collection with a bronze-medal performance.
How Will the Course Be for the Super-G?
Because of the warm weather, the snow has been melting. This has caused the slope to turn to slush and has drawn criticism from several of the top contenders. The temperatures have caused the course to change dramatically in a short period of time, despite the best efforts from officials.
In USA Today, top contender Bode Miller voiced his concerns:
If by the luck of the draw you draw (bib number) 5, you're running 45 minutes to an hour before somebody who's ranked two points behind you who draws 29...In these conditions, the course really changes a lot in an hour.
Will Team USA Take Home a Medal?
After a pair of lackluster performance from the United States men's athletes in the super combined and the downhill competitions, the pressure is on to perform in the super-G. Bode Miller and Ted Ligety both are regarded as top contenders to make the podium, but will need flawless runs against top competition.
Athletes to Watch
The New Hampshire native headed into the Sochi Games as a top medal contender, and while his effort in the super combined was disappointing, he remains a top threat. The decorated Olympic veteran has earned five medals throughout his impressive career and took silver in this event at the Vancouver Games. The course may be problematic for him, but the truly great athletes can overcome those obstacles.
The 23-year-old Austrian handled the Sochi snow beautifully to earn his first career gold medal in the downhill competition. Though that was an impressive performance, his strongest event is actually the super-G, and he looks like a major contender to add another piece of hardware to his collection.
Aksel Lund Svindal
The reigning gold medalist from the Vancouver Games, the 31-year-old Norwegian will try to defend his title in Sochi. He finished fourth in the downhill competition, just shy of earning his fourth Olympic medal. His run in the super combined was average, but he should move forward from that in his top event of the Winter Olympics.
Who Are the Sleepers?
Representing Team USA, Ligety will try to improve off of a 12th-place finish in the super combined. The 29-year-old Salt Lake native took home a gold medal at the 2006 Turin Games in the combined event and will try to shake the memory of a dismal showing at the Vancouver Games. He may not be the household name his teammate Bode Miller is, but he could pull a minor upset here.
At this point, the 29-year-old Italian is just too consistent to overlook. He has taken home hardware in two events so far, the super combined and the downhill, and seems to be getting over the course better than anyone. While he may not be a heavy favorite, there is something to be said for quiet consistency—and he seems like a logical contender to earn a spot on the podium.
Complete Medal Predictions
The field has shaped up to be extremely competitive for the men's super-G, making it an Olympic event not to be missed.
Gold - Matthias Mayer
Silver - Bode Miller
Bronze - Aksel Lund Svindal