Majestic Marcel untouchable in giant slalom
Marcel Hirscher won a second gold medal at PyeongChang 2018 after leaving the Alpine skiing giant slalom field in his wake with another technical masterclass. The Austrian posted a combined time of 2:18.04, a full 1.27 seconds ahead of Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who won silver, and Alexis Pinturault from France, who claimed bronze.
Hirscher, 28, is the outstanding skier of his generation, having claimed the last six overall World Cup titles. He had already won the men‘s Alpine combined at PyeongChang 2018 on 13 February, to add to the slalom silver he won at Sochi 2014.
The giant slalom final took place in ideal conditions at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre, with Hirscher putting himself in a strong position for a second gold by taking a lead of 0.63 seconds in the first run, ahead of nearest challenger Pinturault.
Kristoffersen, 23, added silver to the giant slalom bronze medal he won at Sochi 2014, having amassed seven second-placed finishes in World Cup races this season, with Hirscher the winner in five of those. A PyeongChang 2018 Alpine combined silver medallist, Pinturault repeated his giant slalom bronze of Sochi 2014.
Hirscher recovered from injury in 2017 to resume his dominance of the World Cup circuit. In the lead-up to PyeongChang 2018 he said he was on a “mission” to finally win a gold, but was determined to enjoy the experience as much as possible. Enjoy it he did, expertly handling the pressure that comes with being a pre-race favourite.
“Wow! It was not so easy to be the absolute favourite in this discipline, then sitting up there as the leader from the first run, knowing that Henrik had ripped it,” said the Austrian afterwards. “I had no choice. I knew I have to give 100% and I have to go into this battle. I’m happy, but right now I’m pumped!”
“I didn’t lose the gold today because that was partly a given before the first run, so I’m really happy,” said Kristoffersen. “It was a little disappointing that I didn’t do better in the first run so I could give Marcel a little bit of a fight, because at the moment it’s not a fight. He’s just beating by everybody by a lot. But still, the silver medal is great.”
“I’m really, really happy about what I did and very proud to share this podium with Henrik and Marcel,” added Pinturault. “I think it was a really great fight. Marcel was for sure the leader today. He was the only one.”