Austrian Marcel Hirscher is now a world champion in three different individual events.
The five-time World Cup overall champion captured his first giant slalom crown in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Friday, adding to his 2013 World title in the slalom and 2015 World title in the super combined.
Hirscher prevailed by .25 of a second after two runs over countryman Roland Leitinger. Norway’s Leif Kristian Haugen earned bronze. Neither Leitinger nor Haugen own any World Cup podiums.
The top American was Olympian David Chodounsky in 11th.
Hirscher, after reportedly spending days sick in bed in the last week, led by .26 after the first run in the morning. The second run was delayed by a half-hour after a flying plane struck an overhead camera that fell into the finish area before the competition.
Hirscher had taken giant slalom silver at the 2013 and 2015 Worlds behind American Ted Ligety. But Ligety was unable to go for a fourth straight GS world title due to season-ending back surgery last month.
Hirscher is the first man to collect world titles in slalom, giant slalom and the combined since Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt, whose last crown came in 2001.
“It took me six years to get this world champion title,” said Hirscher, who made his world championships debut in 2009, placing fourth in the GS. “After Schladming [in 2013] and Vail-Beaver Creek [in 2015], always finishing second place. Now it is amazing.”
Hirscher, who missed gold in the combined by .01 on Monday, is en route to his sixth straight World Cup overall title this season. No other man has won that many, consecutive or not.
Hirscher has already proven his excellence on the World Cup and world championships stages. It’s PyeongChang where he must deliver, since he lacks Olympic gold. Hirscher is only 27 years old, but he has cast doubt on going all the way to the 2022 Winter Games.
The world championships continue with Mikaela Shiffrin going for her third straight slalom title on Saturday (3:45 and 7 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).
Hirscher goes for another gold in the men’s slalom on Sunday.
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