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The son of Aldo Radamus, the longstanding former executive director at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (USA), River Radamus showed on Saturday that he was born to ski, leading from start to finish to claim gold in the Super-G at Hafjell, the opening men’s Alpine skiing event at the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The reigning American junior slalom champion and one of the best skiers in the world in his age group, River served notice of his all-round skills with a virtuoso display in the No1 bib.
Reflecting on his gold medal-winning run, he said: “I tried to keep it as much like any other race as I could to take the pressure off, but I told myself when I started that if worse comes to worse, I’m still the fastest American because I’m the only American in the race. I like starting first. It means I can choose my lines, which was maybe an advantage for me.”
River showed little emotion when he crossed the line in a time of 1:10.62, later acknowledging a few errors on the way down. His time would prove good enough for gold, however, though Italy’s Pietro Canzio pushed the USA skier close.
Starting seventh, Pietro matched River virtually gate for gate and came in a mere three hundredths off the pace to win silver. Completing the podium was Austria’s Manuel Traninger, whose time of 1:11:03 secured him the bronze by a mere 0.01 seconds from Finland’s Sampo Kankkunen.
“It was a tight race. I knew there was a lot of great ski racers coming down after me so I was holding my breath the entire way, and it was really awesome to come out with the win today,” said River after climbing down from the podium.
“It was an immensely emotional moment for me; it’s something that every kid dreams about and I was really honoured to represent not only the people I ski with but my entire nation today.”
After experiencing every emotion in a long and nervous wait that ultimately ended in joyous celebrations, the smiling gold-medallist added: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it’s been a really memorable experience already. I think I’ll cherish this moment for the rest of my life and hopefully I’ll be able to attend the ‘real’ ones one day.”
The young American has his sights set on more medals at Lillehammer, not least in the slalom, the final individual Alpine skiing event of Lillehammer 2016.