olympic sports

Sochi recap: Alpine skiing: men’s super-G

Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud, who tore his ACL in the World Championships super-G a year ago, shot down the hill for a big win. And it’s a huge day for the Americans — World Cup also-ran Andrew Weibrecht claimed his second Olympic medal while Bode Miller earned his sixth.

Updated with final results.

Date: 16-Feb

Sport: Alpine skiing

Event: Men’s super-G

Medalists: Kjetil Jansrud (Norway), Andrew Weibrecht (USA), Bode Miller (USA) and Jan Hudec (Canada) tied for bronze

SportsMyriad projections: Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway), Matthias Mayer (Austria), Patrick Küng (Switzerland)

How U.S. fared: Ted Ligety won the 2013 World Championship in this event, but that was a surprise. He’s much better in giant slalom. He had good speed early in this run but had a big skid and barely made it through a gate just as he hit a flatter section, giving up a lot of momentum. Through nine skiers, he stood third, but he would drop to 14th.

This was Bode Miller’s last chance to add to his collection of Olympic medals, and it’s safe to say he went for it. Riding the ragged edge of disaster all the way down and sometimes brushing the snow with his hand, Miller made it down with the lead through 13 skiers. He didn’t look happy with the run, but he brought the excitement if nothing else. Would it stand?

Travis Ganong, a surprise fifth place in the downhill, started 25th. He made it down with control but not speed, dropping 1.88 seconds behind the leader. He finished 23rd.

Andrew Weibrecht had a career race in this event in 2010, taking bronze. Starting 29th, he took an aggressive approach and startlingly led by 0.35 seconds at the first split. Then 0.33 at the second. With that much speed, you had to figure he could make a mistake, but he was still 0.20 ahead at the next split. He lost time down the stretch as the crowd roared in anticipation of the upset. His time: 1:18.44 — 30 seconds behind Jansrud but ahead of Miller and Hudec!

What happened: Another tough course for the skiers. The first three down the hill looked perplexed at the finish. Russia’s Alexander Glebov skidded on his side, stood up, pawed at the orange safety netting and yelled something we’ll guess was unfit for television.

Italy’s Peter Fill took the early lead. Countryman Christof Innerhofer, already with two medals here, shockingly skidded out in the first couple of gates, slamming a pole to the snow in frustration. Then came Miller to bump Fill out of first.

Austrians Max Franz and Ottmar Striedinger followed Miller and came so close to beating his time — Franz was 0.07 seconds back, Striedinger 0.02.

Then it was the Norwegian great Aksel Lund Svindal. Three medals in 2010, including gold in this event. The live NBC stream worked in a few ads and was late coming back to the action. We’ll assume he looked OK, but he came in 0.09 behind Miller in fourth place.

The other two Austrians faltered. Downhill champion Matthias Mayer skidded out, and Georg Streitberger was nowhere near the pace.

Swiss favorite Patrick Küng has been a little ill, and he was slower than Miller through the early splits. Küng finished ahead of the American. Ligety, that is — not Miller. Bode was busy telling interviewers he wasn’t too happy with his run, but we were running out of people who could catch him.

Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud took bronze in the downhill and had the fastest downhill time in the combined. Starting 21st, he was the last skier who had not just a chance to beat Miller but a good chance. He was within 0.16 of Miller early and closed to 0.04. Then 0.02. And at the last — 0.53 ahead of Miller! He punched the air and the snow. Miller gave a wry smile and hugged his wife.

The last of the top seeds were the Canadians. Jan Hudec had good speed early, went a little out of control at the end and raced across — 0.53 behind Jansrud. Yes, TIED with Bode Miller in silver position.

Erik Guay, on the other hand, lost plenty of speed early and never caught up, then missed a late gate to get the dreaded DNF. That left seven of the top 30 to go, including two Americans. Occasionally, someone in that group will pull a stunner, and Weibrecht did just that.

One skier outside the top 30, the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Bank, looked like a potential fly in the ointment and indeed had some fast splits. He worked his way into the top 10, only 0.44 behind Miller and Hudec.

Quotes: From before Jansrud’s run …

After Weibrecht’s run …

Full results

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2 replies »

  1. That was an insane race, that late American came out of nowhere. Nice to see Norway get back on track. I think 11 golds will be enough this year.

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