Hirscher snags gold in crazy combined | VailDaily.com

Hirscher snags gold in crazy combined

Austria's Marcel Hirscher reacts after finishing the slalom portion of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships combined race. Little did he know at the time that he had overcome a 3.16-second deficit to win the race.
AP photo | AP

BEAVER CREEK — Apparently, a 3.16-second deficit doesn’t mean much at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

That’s what Austria’s Marcel Hirscher faced coming into the slalom portion of Sunday’s combined at Beaver Creek. Finishing 30th in the downhill, however, allowed him to go first on what would become a very soft course, and the three-time defending World Cup champion took advantage. He laid down a clean run, and watched as the rest of the field slogged its way down the course.

Hirscher ended up winning with a combined time of 2 minutes, 36.10 seconds for likely one of the more remarkable wins of his very remarkable career. Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud finished second and American Ted Ligety finished third, giving Team U.S.A its third medal of the Championships.

American Ted Ligety was 29th after the downhill, and said between runs that he was out of contention. Not so, Ted. Because he skied second in the slalom, he also had a relatively clean track and sat in second place until Jansrud, the last of the legitimate contenders to come down, knocked him down to third.

Jansrud was probably the most unhappy person with a 3.16-second lead in the history of ski racing by the time he had to run. He needed all of that margin as the 30th racer of the slalom. He kept dropping time, but he had time to give.

He somehow slid into second, and gave a mock bow to the crowd to celebrate his silver medal.

The Worlds continue with the women’s combined on Monday with downhill at 10 a.m. and slalom at 2:15 p.m.

This story will be updated.

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