Swiss skier Marco Odermatt celebrates after winning the giant slalom at the World Championships in Courchevel, February 17, 2023.
Courchevel (France) – Olympic winner Marco Odermatt also won the giant slalom at the World Championships in France after the downhill. In the sum of both runs, he beat Swiss compatriot Loic Meillard by 32 hundredths of a second. As the first participant of the WC in Courchevel and Méribel, he has two gold medals. Austrian Marco Schwarz, the winner of the first round, fell to third place. Czech skiers Jan Zabystřan and Filip Forejtek did not finish the first round.
Photogallery: WC in downhill skiing 2023
Odermatt won four of the five giant slaloms he entered in this year's World Cup. However, he did not confirm the role of favorite in the opening round on an exceptionally long and icy track. He lost 58 hundredths of a second to defending bronze medalist Schwarz due to a mistake in a sharp passage and a worse finish. But no one else beat him, so he started second to last in the second race.
He wasn't the fastest again, but thanks to the lead from the first lap, he defended the lead from compatriot Meillard. Both were waiting to see what Schwarz would do, who could win Austria's first gold at this championship. In the opening part, the Austrian competitor still held the lead, but then he made several mistakes and was only 18th. It meant a drop to third place. Although he won his seventh world medal, his only title remained the previous year's triumph in the combined.
“Actually, I didn't even expect to win. Marco drove excellently in the first round. But he made a few mistakes in the second and that helped me to the gold,” stated Odermatt. At the finish line, he enjoyed a thunderous ovation from the fans who chanted his nickname “Odi, Odi!”. “It's amazing. There are so many great Swiss fans, my family, friends. But the emotions after the convention were probably greater, it was a surprise for me and for everyone else. Today it was easier because I already knew that I had only one medal,” he added.
Schwarz ended up losing four tenths to Odermatt. “Overall, I'm satisfied. I made a few mistakes in the second round that you can't afford at this level,” acknowledged the Austrian. “The pressure was more than usual. The last time I was in the lead after the first lap was some two years ago, so I was a bit nervous. I tried to stay focused and did well. Odi has dominated the giant slalom for two years now, we just have to accept that.” he added.
Thanks to the fastest time of the second lap, Meillard also got ahead of him, who climbed to the silver from the fourth place. After two bronzes from the 2021 World Cup, the twenty-six-year-old Swiss achieved his greatest success at the World Cup. The second round was significantly spoiled by Žan Kranjec from Slovenia, who was in third place and finished sixth.
Another failure at this World Cup happened to Zabystřan, who fell shortly after the first interval. As in the combined slalom and super-G, he did not reach the finish line. Immediately, Forejtek with starting number 42 passed him, but in the next section he could not fit into the gate and the race ended prematurely for him as well.
WC in downhill skiing in Courchevel:
Men – giant slalom: 1. Odermatt 2:34.08 (1:20.05+1:14.03), 2. Meillard (both Swiss) -0.32 (1:20.60+1:13.80), 3. Schwarz – 0.40 (1:19.47+1:15.01), 4. Brennsteiner (both Cancer) -0.76 (1:20.84+1:14.00), 5. Kristoffersen (Nor.) -0.96 (1:20.88+1:14.16), 6. Kranjec (Slovenia) -1.34 (1:20.23+1:15.19), …Zabystřan , Forejtek (both CR) both did not finish the 1st round.