Morning Chronicle - History-making Mayer retains men's Olympic super-G title

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History-making Mayer retains men's Olympic super-G title
History-making Mayer retains men's Olympic super-G title

History-making Mayer retains men's Olympic super-G title

Austria's Matthias Mayer defended his Olympic super-G title on Tuesday to make history as the first male alpine skier to win gold medals in three consecutive Games.

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Mayer, who won his first super-G title in Pyeongchang in 2018 and also won downhill gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, clocked a winning time of 1min 19.94sec.

American Ryan Cochran-Siegle took a surprise silver with a time 0.04sec behind Mayer, with Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde claiming bronze at 0.42sec.

Kilde was the big favourite coming into the race as the World Cup leader in the speed event having won three of the last four super-G races on the circuit this season.

The Norwegian took temporary control of the leaderboard, but could only look on as Mayer delivered a gliding masterclass in the bottom section of the 2.3km-long "Rock" course that helped him take the definitive lead.

Hitting speeds of 120 kilometres per hour (75 miles per hour), Mayer was behind on the first intermediaries in the testing upper section that snaked through the barren mountainscape of Yanqing District north of Beijing.

But the 31-year-old Austrian, who won a bronze medal in the downhill on Monday, somehow found more speed in a consummate descent of the vertical drop of 645 metres on hard-packed artifical snow in brilliant sunshine.

It was a remarkable result for Mayer, who had won just one World Cup super-G since his triumph in Pyeongchang, although he has made the podium three times this season.

His gold meant he joined an exclusive club of skiers to have won gold medals in three different Games after Italy's Deborah Compagnoni (super-G - 1992; giant slalom - 1994, 1998) and Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt (super-G - 1992, 2002, 2006, combined - 2002).

A handful of pretenders for gold, or at least a podium place, skied out, notably Switzerland's Marco Odermatt and Beat Feuz, who won gold in the downhill on Monday.

Feuz missed a gate in the top third, while Odermatt clipped a gate and never recovered his balance to cap a disappointing couple of days' racing for the Swiss.

"I tried everything, I took the risk I definitely needed to have the chance for a medal, but the very last turn was too much," said Odermatt.

"It’s the Olympic Games, just a medal counts. Maybe you’re taking a little more risks than usual than in the World Cup where a fourth or fifth comes with important points. Here it counts for nothing."

Reigning world champion Vincent Kriechmayr of Austria finished fifth behind Norway's Adrian Smiseth Sejersted, with Canada's James Crawford backing up his impressive fourth-placed finish in the downhill with a sixth in the super-G.

"It's no surprise to see Mayer on top," Crawford said, describing the course as a "high-tempo" one that suited all-rounders.

"Mayer is super technically sound, but also has all the speed skills."