Erik Guay

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Erik Guay, world champion from Canada, retires rather than ski farewell season

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Erik Guay, the most successful Canadian male Alpine skier at major events with two world titles, retired two days before what was to be the start of his farewell season.

“It’s been on my mind for a little while now, but there was a lot of things that were tugging me in different directions,” Guay said Thursday, two days before a World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta.

The 37-year-old noted the difficulty of being away from his wife and four daughters, plus a lack of competitiveness. Guay raced twice last season — 12th and 32nd in speed races — and missed the PyeongChang Olympics with a back injury. He was 69th in the first downhill training run of the season Wednesday.

“It’s a sport that involves a lot of risk,” Guay said. “I’m willing to put that risk out there if it’s for a shot at the podium, but the moment that I’m not competitive anymore, I think it doesn’t make any sense to continue to risk it.”

Guay said his decision was affected by longtime Canadian teammate Manny Osborne-Paradis‘ training crash Wednesday. Osborne-Paradis suffered what is believed to be a broken leg, according to Alpine Canada.

Guay started three spots after Osborne-Paradis in the training run.

“I probably made [the decision to retire] in the start gate,” Guay said. “When Manny crashed right away, I thought, you know what, I should just go and take the chair lift down. So it took everything for me to push out of the start gate.

“All I could think about yesterday was Manny. … I couldn’t focus or charge the way that I wanted to, and I think that’s when I kind of knew it was time.”

Guay is a three-time Olympian with a best finish of fourth in the 2006 Olympic super-G.

The Québécois’ best races came at world championships, where he won the downhill in 2011 and the super-G in 2017. His title two years ago in St. Moritz, Switzerland, made him the oldest world champ in any Alpine event.

Guay also won five World Cup races among 25 podiums, the latter a Canadian record.

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World champion in super-G to miss Olympics

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Canadian Erik Guay, who stunned last year to win the world championships super-G at age 35, will miss the Olympics due to back problems, according to his social media.

The three-time Olympian raced four times this season, but none since Dec. 16, with a top finish of 12th. He underwent an MRI later in December that revealed an annular rupture at his L4 vertabra.

His best Winter Games finish was fourth in the 2006 Olympic super-G.

Guay’s world title in the super-G last season marked his first win of any kind since March 1, 2014. The Montreal native became the oldest world champion in any Alpine event.

He also took silver in the downhill at worlds, six years after he won the world title in that event.

The Olympic favorites in the downhill and super-G include Norwegians Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud and Swiss Beat Feuz.

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Swiss Beat Feuz wins men’s downhill world title at home

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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) — Host nation Switzerland got the world championships gold medal it most wanted when Beat Feuz won the downhill Sunday.

Roger Federer had a front-row seat in the stands to see Feuz finish 0.12 seconds faster than Erik Guay of Canada, denying the winner of Wednesday’s super-G a speed title double.

Max Franz of Austria was third, 0.37 behind Feuz, who took downhill bronze two years ago.

Full results are here. NBCSN will air coverage Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

Though Feuz’s top speed of 119 kph (74 mph) was slower than many rivals, he was best at keeping speed through the twisting turns midway down a shortened course.

“I felt the pressure,” said Feuz, favored to repeat his win in the World Cup finals downhill last March, through a translator. “I knew the expectations of the Swiss people. It was important not to go crazy with all that.”

A lower start was used because the steep “Free Fall” section – the signature feature of the Corviglia course – was shrouded in clouds, and a lower start was used. Sunshine lit the slope one day after more fog forced the race to be postponed on Feuz’s 30th birthday.

The marquee men’s race shaped as open when the Olympic champion, world champion, season-long World Cup champion, and the past six World Cup race winners were all different racers.

Still, Feuz carried Swiss hopes on a home course he knows well, and had been fastest in a training run on Tuesday.

Racing as the No. 13 starter, Feuz broke a tie for the lead after Swiss teammate Patrick Kueng, the defending champion, matched Kjetil Jansrud of Norway. Kueng and Jansrud even posted the same time at each of the first two check points, and eventually shared fourth place.

“Hats off to Beat, I think he did an incredible job today,” said the 35-year-old Guay, who was seeking to match Bode Miller‘s achievement 12 years ago of winning both speed races. “I felt some pressure, for sure.”

Feuz joined Swiss teammate Wendy Holdener, winner of the women’s combined event on Friday, as home gold medalists from the first five races.

The Swiss men’s team had underachieved this season, and its only win on the World Cup circuit was a fluke success for Niels Hintermann in a snow-affected combined event at Wengen. Hintermann was not selected in the five-man Swiss team Sunday.

The Swiss got it right, and the Alpine nation’s most famous resident Federer, sitting with his wife Mirka, and Lindsey Vonn, looked on approvingly.

Vonn took bronze two hours earlier in the women’s downhill, won by Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia.

Stuhec was faster than any of the men Sunday, clocking 125.6 kph (78 mph) on the adjoining course.

Without their steep start, the men’s race peaked at 122.5 kph (76 mph) clocked by Austria’s Hannes Reichelt, who placed 17th.

“I would have loved to start from Free Fall because it’s a little bit faster then,” said Feuz, whose run turned out to be fast enough regardless.

Worlds continue with the men’s super combined Monday on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

MORE: Alpine Worlds broadcast schedule