Winter Olympics: Hirscher wins gold in men’s combined event

EPA-EFE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

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Austrian Marcel Hirscher claimed the gold medal in the men’s alpine combined event at the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. 

28-year-old Hirscher, who has won the last six overall World Cup titles and is poised to claim a seventh, climbed from an unexpectedly high 12th place after the downhill segment to beat France’s Alexis Pinturault by 0.23 seconds.

I killed it. It is something really special and unexpected. I’m super happy that this stupid question mark over my career has been removed”, Hirscher told reporters after winning the first Olympic gold of his career.

The Austrian’s previous best in the Olympics was a silver medal in slalom at Sochi four years ago.

France’s Victor Muffat-Jeandet claimed the bronze medal, 0.79 seconds behind compatriot Pinturault.

EPA-EFE/VASSIL DONEV

Of the top three in a downhill segment of the combined, only Thomas Dressen of Germany made it to the bottom of the slalom course, but his effort was enough only for the ninth place overall.

Matthias Mayer of Austria crashed out, taking a cameraman with him, and Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal - who was second after the downhill segment with 1.25 second advantage over Hirscher - surprisingly chose not to start at all.

A Norwegian team official said that while Svindal did not have an injury, he was concerned about his knee after the warm-up.