Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr won the famed Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel for the first time, while Jared Goldberg nearly became the first American since 2014 to make the podium in men’s Alpine skiing’s crown jewel World Cup race.
Kriechmayr, the reigning world champion in the downhill and super-G, prevailed by 23 hundredths of a second in his home nation over Italian Florian Schieder, a 27-year-old whose best previous World Cup finish was 13th.
“The Streif is a myth, a legend. For an Austrian downhiller the most important race,” said Kriechmayr, who also won two downhills in Italy in December. “To win in Kitzbuehel, it’s just amazing. It’s the most important World Cup race of the season. I tried, I tried everything. I pushed. It was not a perfect run but it was totally on the limit.”
Schieder was the 43rd starter — the world’s best go in the top 30 — and knocked Goldberg off the podium.
Goldberg, 31, still posted a personal-best fourth-place finish in his 146th World Cup start, but the U.S. men’s Alpine podium drought continues. In 2022, the U.S. earned zero men’s World Cup podiums in a year for the first time since 1998.
Pre-race favorites Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Marco Odermatt of Switzerland narrowly avoided high-speed crashes.
Kilde, the world’s top-ranked downhiller, was 16th, his lowest result in a World Cup speed race that he’s finished in four years.
The Norwegian lost time on Kriechmayr early on but gained on the Austrian at every following split. He then seemed to risk too much in the bend approaching the finish stretch. He leaned backward and came off the course, but regained control just before hitting a commercial banner.
“That was close, really close, almost too close,” Kilde said. “It really happened so quick. When I landed, I collapsed a little bit, and everything happens so fast. It’s Kitzbuehel, it’s how it is.”
Odermatt, whose best events are super-G and giant slalom, was 54th of 58 racers, his first finish lower than seventh in any event this season.
Odermatt, the overall World Cup leader, lost grip about 25 seconds into his run. He regained balance with his right ski high up in the air but almost crashed into the safety netting. The Swiss skier avoided risks for the remainder of his run and finished more than three seconds behind.
Odermatt hurt his left knee in the incident and will sit out the second downhill on Saturday while undergoing further tests, the Swiss ski team said.
Olympic champion Beat Feuz of Switzerland, a three-time Hahnenkamm downhill winner, was 28th. Feuz, 35, has said he is retiring after Saturday’s second downhill in Kitzbuehel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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