St. Moritz, Switzerland – Sunday’s final day of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz was owned by the Austrians, who went 1-2 with Marcel Hirscher taking an easy win.
It was another beautiful, sunny day at St. Moritz, with the track holding up nicely despite warmer temperatures. While the first course was a classic rhythmic slalom, the second run was the opposite—full of rhythm changes and tough combinations. But Hirscher made it look simple, finishing .68 seconds ahead of his teammate Manny Feller. Felix Neureuther of Germany, who sat in 10th after a tough first run, put the hammer down in the second run to step onto the podium in third.
It was Hirscher’s third medal—and second gold—of the World Championships. He won the giant slalom earlier in the week and was second in the alpine combined. And his slalom win was clutch—Austria’s medals broke the medal-count tie with Switzerland, leaving Austria in first overall with nine medals to the home country’s seven.
“It’s perfect,” Hirscher said after the race. “Sun is shining, great conditions today and the skiing was in all pretty good. Austria is pretty stoked with another two podiums. The young guns are kicking my ass during the training runs so I am very grateful for this, it has helped me to improve myself every training run.”
David Chodounsky was the leading American skier on Sunday, finishing 12th. Chodounsky, who had his best-ever giant slalom finish on Friday, came into the race with confidence, but had a little mistake first run and struggled with the tricky second run.
“I got to take the positives from today,” said Chodounsky, who had DNFed in the previous three World Championships in which he competed. “Best (World Champs) I’ve had for sure—I’ve had some pretty bad luck in World Champs previous years. It’s been a blast. I’ve skied well; I’ve learned a lot about myself. The confidence is coming back and I still have another race in Kranjska (Gora). Go there, hammer, qualify for Aspen—that’s my goal.”
Rounding out the Americans, Mark Engel (Truckee, Calif.) took 34th with Robby Kelley (Starksboro, Vt.) 39th. Michael Ankeny (Deephaven, Minn.) did not finish first run.
After 13 days of top level sports action and celebrations in town, Sunday’s race closed the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz. All together, 12 nations won medals. Austria closed the Championships with three golds, four silvers and two bronze medals. Switzerland ended with seven total medals, including three golds, thanks in large part to a strong showing from their speed teams, which accounted for six of the medals.
Hirscher was the only athlete to earn three medals at these World Championships, cementing his place among legends with two gold medals and one silver after winning the giant slalom and slalom and taking second place in the alpine combined. Several athletes, however, came away from these World Championships with two medals. Canada’s Erik Guay, 36, claimed a gold in the super G and a silver in the downhill to become the oldest medalist in World Championship history. On the women’s side, Tessa Worley of France earned two gold medals, one in the Nation’s Team Event and the second coming in the giant slalom, while American Mikaela Shiffrin also brought home two medals after earning the silver in the giant slalom and gold in the slalom for the third consecutive time. Rounding out the double medalists was Swiss ace Wendy Holdener, who won the alpine combined and took silver in the slalom.
An unexpected “Super Sunday” featured both the men’s and ladies’ downhills after fog delayed the men’s downhill originally scheduled for the preceding day. The rare combination filled the Salastrains Stadium with nearly 40,000 fans. The day also shattered all television viewing records, according to the European Broadcast Union audience figures.
In total, some 165,000 spectators attended the 11 competitions and the official opening ceremony, while an estimated 30,000 visited the Kulm Park in St. Moritz Dorf, where all medal ceremonies were staged under the watchful eye of “Edi,” a three-story-tall wooden ski figure that became a fan favorite.
“The St. Moritz Organizers did a world-class job of hosting these World Championships,” FIS President Gian Franco Kasper said at the closing press conference. “They were ready to deal with a first week of challenging weather, whilst the sunny skies the second week gave St. Moritz a chance to truly shine. The enthusiasm of the officials, volunteers and spectators with their great vocal support created a fantastic atmosphere that gave all the athletes from 76 participating nations the ideal backdrop to shine.”
With the World Championships now a wrap, the men’s speed teams head to Kvitfjell, Norway for two downhills and a super G, while the tech teams prepare for Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, before the tour finishes at the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo.
2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships
St. Moritz, Switzerland – Feb. 19, 2017
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