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2ND LEAD Hirscher victorious in first alpine event at Pyeongchang By Andre Leslie, dpa

Europe, Europa
13.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Pyeongchang, South Korea (dpa) - Austria‘s Marcel Hirscher won the men‘s combined event on Tuesday for his maiden Olympic victory and the first alpine ski gold medal of the Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

Hirscher posted a total time of 2 minutes 6.52 seconds for the downhill and slalom runs at Jeongseon Alpine Centre, beating Alexis Pinturault of France by 0.23 seconds.

Bronze went to France‘s Victor Muffat-Jeandet, who was 1.02 off Hirscher‘s pace. Germany‘s Thomas Dressen, who led after a shortened downhill run, finished ninth.

The win gave Hirscher one of the few items missing from a trophy cabinet that features 55 World Cup wins. He won a slalom silver in Sochi 2014, where he was also fourth in the giant slalom, and as a 20-year-old in Vancouver 2010 was fifth in the slalom and fourth in giant slalom.

"All the people expected me to win a gold medal, especially in Austria, my home country, where skiing is big," he said.

"Everyone is saying, ‘Nice career, but an Olympic gold medal is still missing.‘ This is perfect, unbelievable."

Slalom specialist Hirscher was lying 12th after the downhill run, but most of the top skiers in the first leg were speed racers and not all-rounders, with Pinturault the main danger.

"It was an amazing downhill, I think it was my best downhill ever," Hirscher said.

"I started in the slalom run and managed to find the right line and a pretty close position to Alexis (Pinturault), so I‘m super super happy with today‘s result, for sure."

Dressen set the opening pace in the first half of the combined event. But he floundered on a challenging slalom course which had been swept of snow in places by moderate winds.

Norwegian veteran Aksel Lund Svindal got close to Dressen in his downhill run too, finishing just 0.07 seconds slower, but decided not to take part in the afternoon slalom run.

He may have made the right decision. Matthias Mayer, another downhill specialist, was positioned third after downhill but crashed out of his afternoon slalom run, thumping into someone on the side of the course.

The men‘s combined was the first event of the alpine ski programme to take place in Pyeongchang after both Sunday‘s men‘s downhill and Monday‘s women‘s giant slalom were postponed because of the wind. Both will now take place on Thursday.

 

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