Marco Odermatt wins Beaver Creek super-G after stars ski out

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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Marco Odermatt charged precisely where he needed to charge along the challenging super-G course. The Swiss racer took chances only where he knew he could.

Odermatt is quickly turning into one to watch with the Beijing Olympics two months away, gliding through the steep and sun-drenched Birds of Prey course Thursday to capture his second World Cup victory of the young season.

He navigated the technical super-G setup in 1 minute, 8.61 seconds to hold off Austria’s Matthias Mayer by 0.78 seconds. The real surprise was Canada’s Broderick Thompson, who finished third while wearing bib No. 35 — a rare podium finish for someone not in the top 30 entrants.

Thompson’s overriding emotion after earning his first top-three World Cup showing?

“Disbelief,” the 27-year-old Thompson said.

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Five of the first 15 starters failed to finish.

That included 2020 World Cup overall champ Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway, 2019 World super-G champion Dominik Paris of Italy, three-time World Cup race winner Max Franz of Austria and Romed Baumann, the surprise 2021 World Championships silver medalist for Germany. All skied off course and did not crash.

The 24-year-old Odermatt is certainly impressing his rivals.

“His skiing is good. His tactic is very aggressive,” Mayer said. “And that’s what makes him so fast.”

This marked back-to-back super-G wins for Odermatt at Beaver Creek (sandwiched around last season’s cancellation because of the coronavirus pandemic). In 2019, he was on edge the whole way down.

In this one, same thing.

“You had to attack and be clever in some sections and the combination worked well,” said Odermatt, who also won a giant slalom race in Austria in October. “It’s really difficult here, as always. You just have to trust your feeling and your skiing.”

Not to be overshadowed was the performance of Thompson, whose late charge was the surprise of the afternoon and knocked Germany’s Andreas Sander off the podium.

Thompson paid close attention to the trouble spots that proved problematic for some early racers, in particular a tricky and fast section up top that went from full sunlight into darkness. The shadows weren’t as prevalent when the competitors made their prerace inspection.

But Thompson found a fast line through there and to the finish.

“I knew I had a decent run, but I looked at the time and seeing third — I can’t put words to it,” said Thompson, whose best World Cup finish entering the race was eighth in an Alpine combined event in 2017. “I honestly still can’t really believe it.”

His coach could.

“Did I see a podium run today? We know if he puts it together, he’s capable of that,” said Canadian coach John Kucera, who was the downhill world champion in 2009. “But for sure, that was an exciting result.”

The top American finisher was Ryan Cochran-Siegle in a tie for 19th, 1.95 seconds behind Odermatt. Fourteen racers didn’t finish the challenging course; Felix Monsen of Sweden had a quick run going but crashed near the end and slid across the finish line.

“It was very technical, actually,” said Mayer, a two-time Olympic champion. “We can see that so many racers did not finish. They missed a gate anywhere, especially on the flat area and at the finish jump. It was a very technical (race). That’s how a super-G should be.”

The Birds of Prey World Cup stop continues Friday with another super-G, live on NBCSN and Peacock.

Mikaela Shiffrin headlines women’s speed races this weekend in Lake Louise, Canada, also live on Peacock.

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