SCHLADMING, AUSTRIA – Austrian star Marcel Hirscher lived up to the expectations of the medal-hungry public in this ski-mad country by winning the men’s world slalom in dramatic fashion on Sunday.
In what was a perfectly choreographed finish to the two-week world ski championships, Hirscher followed up his leading first run with a dramatic dash down the second in a tightly fought competition.
The 23-year-old timed an aggregate of 1 minute, 51.03 seconds — 0.42 ahead of Germany’s Felix Neureuther, with another Austrian, former two-time world champion Mario Matt, claiming bronze at 0.65.
Hirscher’s victory handed Austria a first individual gold medal, and the 40,000-strong roaring crowd packed around the cramped finish area welcomed their new champion in deafening, cowbell-ringing and horn-blowing acclaim.
“It was very difficult,” said Hirscher. “It was fierce. What can I say, it’s great!
“The atmosphere was sensational, it was great. But I was so focused and just tried not to make a mess. It was anything but easy.”