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NEWS FEATURE Myhrer's four-year fightback worth the wait in Olympic slalom By Andre Leslie, dpa

Europe, Europa
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Four years ago Andre Myhrer was at rock bottom as he failed to finish in the slalom at Sochi after starting the two-run event strongly. As the favourites crashed out on Thursday in Pyeongchang, the 35-year-old held his nerve to clinch a surprise gold medal.

Pyeongchang, South Korea (dpa) - Andre Myhrer is unlikely ever to be a star in Sweden in the same way as the country‘s all-conquering alpine skiing king Ingemar Stenmark.

But the 35-year-old technical specialist, in probably his last Games, secured a historic win on Thursday, staying out of trouble at Yongpyong Alpine Centre to become the oldest-ever winner of the men‘s Olympic slalom.

After bronze at Vancouver in 2010 and a "did not finish" result in the 2014 Games, Thursday‘s slalom victory was worth the wait for Myhrer.

"Somehow...I knew that I would have my chance again and I‘ve been working hard for four years since then," the Swede said of his failure in Sochi.

"On the other hand, to pull that off today, like I did, is a dream come true. I‘m very, very happy for that gold medal."

In the 2014 Olympics the Swede had been second after his first run, just like on Thursday, but he "fell apart" in the second due to pain from a knee injury sustained just 10 days before the Games.

"Coming into that race...I was in the best shape of my life," he said.

On Thursday, on a slalom course that did for both Austrian favourite Marcel Hirscher (in his first run) and Norway‘s Henrik Kristoffersen (in his second), Myhrer skied consistently to triumph on an unpredictable day‘s skiing.

He finished second fastest on his first run, with a time of 47.93 seconds, and eighth fastest the second time round, while his competition fell away on their later attempts.

Kristoffersen missed a gate, while France‘s Victor Muffat-Jeandet completed a poor second run, and suddenly Myhrer had won gold.

"That feeling, when you realize you won the gold, it is hard to describe," he said.

"If you win the gold medal at the Olympics, which has been my big goal for my whole career, it is something not many athletes are able to do. And this was my last chance.

"What happened before is what it is, this tops everything."

Myhrer‘s success comes exactly a week after 35-year-old Aksel Lund Svindal won gold in the men‘s downhill to become the oldest athlete to win Olympic gold in alpine skiing. The Norwegian veteran is just a couple of weeks older than Myhrer.

"Coming into an Olympics like this, it‘s good to have some routine as well. This is my fourth Olympics," Myhrer admitted Thursday.

"It‘s good to have some experience. It‘s a little special to race an Olympic race.

"Today I just tried to have fun out there, tried to give myself a chance from the first run and really leave my heart out on that slope."

Swedish monarch King Carl XVI Gustaf is in Pyeongchang for the Games, and Myhrer‘s performance met with royal approval.

"Fantastic," the king said. "I‘ve followed him all the years since the [2006] Turin Games. He really has hung in there and deserved it 100 per cent."


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