Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde confirmed he’s the Olympic downhill favorite by winning the biggest race on the World Cup, the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbühel, Austria, on Friday.
Kilde, who is Mikaela Shiffrin‘s boyfriend, earned his third win in seven World Cup downhills this season after returning from a season-ending knee ligament tear last January.
“Standing here now just over a year after I had my knee operation it’s quite incredible,” Kilde said. “A lot of things have to happen for you to win, and today was one of those days where I really had a good feeling.”
The only men to win the Hahnenkamm downhill and the Olympics in the same season were Austrian legends Franz Klammer in 1976 and Toni Sailer in 1956.
Kilde prevailed by .42 of a second over 41-year-old Frenchman Johan Clarey, who broke his own record as the oldest Alpine skier to make a World Cup podium. Last year in Kitzbühel, Clarey became the first 40-year-old to make a World Cup podium, also in second place.
France’s Blaise Giezendanner was a stunning third from bib 43. Travis Ganong was the top American in seventh.
The men race another downhill in Kitzbühel on Sunday, after a slalom on Saturday. Both races are live on Peacock.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nbcolympictalk