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Alpine skiing: Stuhec and Feuz strike world championships gold


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Alpine skiing: Stuhec and Feuz strike world championships gold

Ilka Stuhec became the second successive Slovenian to win the downhill title at the Alpine skiing world championships.

She succeeds compatriot Tina Maze, who won the blue riband event two years ago.

The 26-year old topped both downhill training runs and then didn’t disappoint her team and fans when she produced a flawless run down the icy course in St Moritz, Switzerland to celebrated her first major title.

Stuhec finished four tenths of a second ahead of Austrian Stephanie Venier, who with silver claimed her first World championship medal.

2010 Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn of the US continued her fine comeback from injury to cross over in third for her seventh career medal at the event.

At the Summit

After the ladies, the men took to the slopes of the Corviglia course. The odds-on favorite for the downhill title, Beat Feuz, didn’t disappoint his home fans and took the win just 24 hours after his 30th birthday.

It might be belated but it was quite the birthday present to offer yourself – world championship gold.

The Swiss speedster mastered the twisting turns midway down and evenutally crossed over the line fastest to hand the host nation the gold medal it most desired.

He is the second consecutive Swiss to win the men’s downhill title after Patrick Kueng in Beaver Creek two years ago.

Super G winner Erik Guay of Canada was denied a speed title double by 0.12 seconds while Max Franz of Austria was third.

Analyze this

After the speed races, the second week of the Worlds sees the technical events come into play. Tessa Worley, 2013 world champion, is favorite for the giant slalom crown while Jean-Baptiste Grange targets a slalom hat-trick after his 2011 and 2015 titles.

Having already tasted success in the event a motivated Worley said: “Considering the emotions and pure joy that it brings, for sure we want to repeat it several times.

‘‘The World championships are quite different to the World Cup, because you really have to be on form that day, there’s a medal at the end of it. So, yes, the motivation is all the more stronger.”

Fellow French skier Grange is wary of his favourite’s tag, he said: “When you get to the start a World Championship it is not like a World Cup race. You could be favourite but only have a 20 percent chance of winning. You can be 20th in the world and have an 80 percent chance. You think it’s doable but in the end you don’t come through. There are so many scenarios, so I will just rely on my experience in order to do the best possible job. I’m not at an event like this for a top ten finish however, I’m here for a medal.”

Take off

It’s now time for some Ski jumping and for that we head over to Japan. Kamil Stoch bounced back from his disappointment on Saturday with a fine showing on Sunday.

After an 18th place the day before Four Hills winner Stoch was back at the top of the podium for a seventh time this season.

The Polish jumper was in fine fettle in Sapporo on Sunday and amassed a winning total of 262.7 points.

He registered jumps of 137.5 and 140 metres en route to the win, which has maintained his position at the top of the overall World Cup leaderboard.

Germany’s Andreas Wellinger claimed second place to continue his impressive season which now one victory, includes four runners up finishes and a third place.

Austrian Stefan Kraft ended the day with 249.6 points which was good enough for third.

The result also moved Kraft into second place in the overall standings 140 points behind Stoch with eight rounds left.

Skiing past

Well before Kamil Stoch, another Polish jumper won in Sapporo during the Winter Olympic Games in 1972. The Japanese jumpers swept the podium for the small hill competition, but they didn’t have it their way on the big hill.

If the Japanese had planned complete domination of their home Winter Olympics in the ski jumping events Wojciech Fortuna was clearly not reading from the same script.

The then unheralded 19-year-old sealed the deal pretty much with his first jump – a competition best 130.4 metres.

And although his second was only 89.5 meters it proved enough to hold Switzerland’s Walter Steiner at bay and hand Poland their very first Olympic ski jumping gold medal.

Stoch would be the next Pole to strike Olympic gold at the 2014 Games in Sochi.