ARE, Sweden (Reuters) - Italy’s Dominik Paris won men’s Super-G gold at the Alpine skiing world championships on Wednesday, bagging the first major title of his career.
Norwegian great Aksel Lund Svindal, the reigning Olympic downhill champion who has said he will retire after the championships in Are, finished outside the top 15.
Paris, wearing bib number three on a bright afternoon, crossed the finish line 0.09 of a second faster than France’s Johan Clarey and Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr who tied for silver.
He was Italy’s first Super-G winner since Christof Innerhofer, fourth on Wednesday and 0.35 seconds off the pace, took gold in 2011.
“It was very difficult conditions with the light, it was such flat light that you can’t see the bumps,” said Paris, who had a nervous wait at the finish. “It was really hard with speed and everything to control very good.
“I had the mistakes in the bottom section, I think I lost too much time there.”
The medal was only the second of the Italian’s career at a world championships or Olympics, his first being a silver behind Svindal in the 2013 downhill at the Austrian resort of Schladming.
Paris has been one of the form speed skiers on the World Cup circuit this season, winning the fearsome Kitzbuehel downhill in January as well as a super-G and downhill on home snow in Bormio in December.
The Italian made good time at the top, before a few mistakes towards the bottom of the course, on a day that saw plenty of others make far bigger errors on a fast and tricky slope.
“He took advantage of that early start position which I think was a good thing, took a little bit of risk and was impressive overall,” said retired U.S. great Bode Miller, now commentating for Eurosport television.
“He made his time on a lot of the other skiers on the top part of this course where it’s not very technical but he’s able to cut off line, use that nice touch on the snow to sneak away some tenths.”
Norway’s 2014 Olympic champion Kjetil Jansrud was one of those who suffered, finishing outside the top 20 and more than a second behind, while Austrian Christian Mayer, the Olympic champion, missed a gate.
“I tried pushing it... a lot of mistakes and didn’t get the flow,” said Jansrud.
“The snow is amazing, it’s the best snow we’ve had all year. But the course set is very fast and it’s set in a way that if you push it, the speed is going really high and you see people dropping out at the gates and not making it.”
Svindal started 11th but lost time at the start, was behind at every split time and finished 16th.
The five-times world champion had been hoping to become only the second skier to win gold at five different championships and will have one last chance in Saturday’s downhill.
Canadian Erik Guay, the 2017 Super-G world champion, retired in November.
Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, Editing by Hugh Lawson, John Stonestreet and Toby Davis