Marco Odermatt dominates Alpine skiing World Cup season opener

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SÖLDEN, Austria — After dominating the season-opening men’s World Cup race Sunday, Marco Odermatt took off his race helmet and pointed at the Red Bull logo.

The Swiss skier’s victory came a day after Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder and owner of the Austrian energy drink brand, had died age 78.

“I hope I have given him something to take along,” Odermatt said.

“I heard the news this morning in the media. Then we spoke with the Red Bull team here and I passed my condolences.”

Another Red Bull sponsored skier, Henrik Kristoffersen, made the podium in third place and paid tribute to the late billionaire.

“He has done so much for our sport, for the skiers, for other sports. An incredible human being, and I am very grateful for what he has done for me and for other athletes,” the Norwegian said.

Odermatt, the Olympic giant slalom champion, lived up to his billing as the favorite for the overall World Cup title, beating the field by more than seven-tenths of a second for his 12th career win.

The Swiss skier had a near-flawless first run and overcame a few mistakes in his second on the steep glacier in the Austrian Alps to finish .76 seconds ahead of Zan Kranjec of Slovenia.

Kristoffersen finished .97 behind in third, ahead of Norwegian teammates Lucas Braathen, who dropped from second after the opening run to fourth, and Rasmus Windingstad.

American skier Tommy Ford posted the fastest time in the second run to climb from 26th to sixth position. River Radamus was the leading contender for the U.S. ski team after the opening run but dropped to 26th.

Odermatt held a big first-run lead of more than four-tenths of a second, but said he didn’t take anything for granted.

“I was not sure (the lead) was enough, this was really a big fight. The snow got worse and worse. Everybody made some mistakes,” said Odermatt, who also won the race last year for the first of his five GS victories on the road to his first overall title.

“You have to be mentally prepared. You have to face the challenge,” he added.

Odermatt won the sport’s biggest prize with a massive 467-point lead over Norwegian speed specialist Aleksander Aamodt Kilde last season.

Kilde, winner of the downhill and super-G titles last season, skied out in the second run.

While he is widely expected to successfully defend his title, Odermatt tried to downplay his dominance.

“I see a lot of competitors for the overall title. But all extra points I can earn now may help me at the end,” he said.

Kristoffersen, who was the only racer other than Odermatt to win a World Cup giant slalom last year, was all smiles after making the podium in the traditional season opener for the first time.

In a remarkable move, the Norwegian 2018 Olympic GS silver medalist switched his ski equipment in the offseason, leaving his long-term supplier Rossignol to join the new Van Deer-Red Bull brand founded by his former rival Marcel Hirscher, the record eight-time overall champion who retired three years ago.

While many regarded it a risky move, Kristoffersen said he never had any doubts.

“The advantage with the new company is that we can adapt things very quickly if we want. Van Deer-Red Bull is a racing company: the main goal is not selling skis but winning races,” said Kristoffersen. “But when you win races, you will sell skis, for sure.”

The race was watched by 14,000 spectators in sunny conditions under blue skies, a day after the women’s race was canceled due to rain and wet snow.

The men’s World Cup continues with a parallel race in Lech-Zürs on Nov. 13, after FIS on Saturday canceled the two Zermatt-Cervinia downhills scheduled for next week due to a lack of snow.

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2022 Grand Prix Final figure skating TV, live stream schedule

Ilia Malinin
Getty
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The Grand Prix Final, the most exclusive figure skating competition of the season and a preview of March’s world championships, airs live on Peacock and E! this week.

The top six per discipline from the six-event fall Grand Prix Series gather in Turin, Italy, at the Palavela, the 2006 Olympic venue. It’s the first Grand Prix Final in three years after the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. qualified skaters in all four disciplines for the first time since 2007, led by the world’s top-ranked man. Ilia Malinin, who turned 18 last Friday, has been the story of the season, becoming the first skater to land a quadruple Axel in competition.

Malinin, the reigning world junior champion, won both of his Grand Prix starts and posted the best total score among all fall events, edging world champion Shoma Uno of Japan. Malinin and Uno will go head-to-head for the first time this season at the Final.

Isabeau Levito, a 15-year-old world junior champion, is the youngest American at a Final since Caroline Zhang in 2007. She qualified in fifth place. The favorites are Japan’s Mai Mihara and Kaori Sakamoto and Belgian Loena Hendrickx.

The U.S. also qualified two pairs’ teams — world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier and Emily Chan and Spencer Howe — and two ice dance couples — three-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker.

For the first time, the Final has no Russian skaters. They are banned from international competition due to the war in Ukraine. For the first time in 25 years, there are no Chinese skaters. China’s top pairs’ teams did not compete in the fall Grand Prix Series.

Grand Prix Final Broadcast Schedule
All TV coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Thursday Pairs’ Short Program 1:20-2:15 p.m. Peacock
Men’s Short Program 2:35-3:20 p.m. Peacock
Friday Pairs’ Free Skate 11:35 a.m.-12:40 p.m. Peacock
Rhythm Dance 1:50-2:45 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Short Program 3:05-3:50 p.m. Peacock
Saturday Men’s Short Program* 6:30-7:30 a.m. E!
Men’s Free Skate 7:30-8:30 a.m. E!, Peacock
Women’s Short Program* 8:30-9:30 a.m. E!
Free Dance 1:40-2:40 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Free Skate 3-3:55 p.m. Peacock
Sunday Highlights* 4-6 p.m. NBC

*Delayed broadcast.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde sweeps Beaver Creek World Cup races

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Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde held off Swiss Marco Odermatt for a second consecutive day to sweep World Cup races in Beaver Creek, Colorado, this weekend.

Kilde won Sunday’s super-G by two tenths of a second over Odermatt, one day after edging Odermatt by six hundredths. France’s Alexis Pinturault took third as the podium was made up of the last three men to win the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

This season’s overall figures to be a two-man battle between Kilde, the 2019-20 champion, and Odermatt, the reigning champion, and could come down to March’s World Cup Finals. They’ve combined to win the first five of 38 scheduled races.

The top American Sunday was River Radamus, who finished an impressive 16th given his start number was 57. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the Olympic super-G silver medalist, and Travis Ganong, who was third in Beaver Creek last year, both skied out.

The men’s World Cup heads next weekend to Val d’Isere, France, for a giant slalom and slalom.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

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