Austria, France take medals in men's Alpine combined; Ligety 5th

By Xinhua and UPI  |  Feb. 13, 2018 at 6:52 AM
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Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Marcel Hirscher of Austria won the men's Alpine combined slalom at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games at Jeongseon Alpine Center on Tuesday, while the United States' Ted Ligety just missed the podium.

Six-time overall World Cup champion Hirscher claimed the gold with a combined time of two minutes 6.52 seconds over the downhill and slalom events.

Hirscher said: "It was an amazing downhill, I think it was my best downhill ever. I started in the slalom run and managed to find the right line and a pretty close position to Alexis, so I'm super happy with today's result, for sure."

Hirscher finally won his first gold medal at Winter Olympics after winning six world championships, 55 World Cup races and 14 World Cup crystal globes.

"Everyone is saying, 'Nice career, but an Olympic gold medal is still missing'. This is perfect, unbelievable. A dream coming true. All the people expected me to win a gold medal, especially in Austria, my home country, where skiing is big," Hirscher added.

Frenchman Alexis Pinturault took the silver in 2:06.75, while his compatriot Victor Muffat Jeandet earned the bronze in 2:07.54.

Hirscher ended Austria's longest gold medal drought in a men's Alpine skiing event at the Winter Games, winning Austria's first Olympic title in a men's combination event since Mario Reiter won at 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.

Ligety, 33, of Park City, Utah, missed the podium -- 1.45 seconds behind Hirscher -- and finished fifth.

"It's good to always have a good race. It's good to be able to go to bed happy with my performance," Ligety said after Tuesday's final. "But I'm not super psyched on not ending with a medal."

Ligety, the surprise gold medalist in the men's combined in Torino 12 years ago, still has two shots at a medal -- the super-G and giant slalom. He is the defending Olympic champion in the giant slalom.

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