Odermatt misses 45-year-old record as Meillard wins last World Cup giant slalom of season

Marco Odermatt failed to complete a perfect giant slalom season Saturday in Saalbach, Austria, at the World Cup finals, where the Swiss star skied out in the second run while holding a commanding lead over eventual winner Loic Meillard.

Odermatt had won each of the previous 12 giant slaloms since February 2023, including nine this season. With another victory, he would have matched the record set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark, who won all 10 giant slaloms in the 1978-79 season.

After dominating the first run, Odermatt initially extended his lead over Meillard to 0.67 seconds but then lost balance on his inside ski after 20 seconds and failed to make the next gate.

WATCH | 2nd run of men’s giant slalom:

FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Saalbach: Men’s giant slalom 2nd run

Catch the deciding run of the men’s giant slalom race from the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup event in Saalbach, Austria.

Odermatt, who is the Olympic and world champion in giant slalom, locked up the GS season title and his third straight overall championship weeks ago.

Showing his crystal globe — the traditional prize in Alpine skiing — to spectators in the finish area, Odermatt smiled and kissed the trophy, but looked disappointed.

Meillard won the race by 0.71 seconds from Joan Verdu of Andorra, followed by his Swiss teammate Thomas Tumler 0.79 behind in third.

Three men's skiers pose with their hands raised in celebration.
Second-placed Andorra’s Joan Verdu, left, winner Switzerland’s Loic Meillard, centre, and third-placed Switzerland’s Thomas Tumler celebrate after the men’s giant slalom event of FIS Ski Alpine World Cup in Saalbach, Austria, on Saturday. (Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images)

The result also made Odermatt wait to become the first male skier with 14 wins across disciplines in a single season, with two chances left to do so at next week’s super-G and downhill. The overall record is held by Mikaela Shiffrin, who won 17 times in 2018-19.

“I felt the last two days that I got a bit nervous,” Odermatt said after the first run.

The course was affected by overnight rain and organizers attempted to harden the surface by sprinkling salt on it just before the race.

“It was difficult conditions, also for the organizers,” Odermatt said.

The race was the first event of the traditional World Cup finals, which features one race in each discipline for both men and women. The first weekend is reserved for the tech races, with the men’s slalom scheduled for Sunday.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Back To Top