ST. MORITZ, Italy, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Stephan Eberharter captured the opening event of the Alpine Skiing World Championships Sunday, edging the resurgent Hermann Maier of Austria and American Bode Miller for the super-G gold medal.
It was the first World Championship title for Eberharter in 12 years and showed Maier that he is not ready to surrender his dominance.
Eberharter last won a gold medal at the worlds in 1991, when he claimed both the super-G and the combined at Saalbach.
Maier, returned to competitive skiing just 19 days ago after a lengthy injury-caused absence and has made an amazing comeback. But Maier's attacking style was not enough to overcome the technical perfection Eberharter displayed on the Corviglia course.
Maier, a double world champion in 1999, was forced to settle for a share of silver with Miller after the American technical specialist put forth his own fair share of daredevil skiing.
Miller and Maier finished .77 of a second behind Eberharter's winning time of 1:38.8.
It was a bittersweet moment for Maier, who never expected to return so quickly and successfully following a terrible motorcycle accident in August 2001. Doctors contemplated amputating Maier's right leg after the incident.
Maier's comeback has been highlighted by a World Cup super-G victory last week in Kitzbuhel.
Ambrosi Hoffman of Switzerland finished fourth while fellow Swiss Didier Cuche, a pre-race favorite, had a poor run and finished 13th.
Olympic super-G champion Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway was fifth while defending world super-G champion Daron Rahlves of the United States finished more than two seconds back in 19th place.
The women's super-G will be run Monday.