Skaardal sweeps down the mountain to triumph in super-G

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The Independent Online
Atle Skaardal (pictured above) became the first Norwegian to win a World Championship super-giant slalom gold medal as Scandinavians dominated in Sierra Nevada, Spain, yesterday.

Skaardal, the downhill silver medallist at the 1993 World Championships, recorded 1min 21.80sec. Sweden's Patrik Jaerbyn took silver in 1:22.09, with another Norwegian, Kjetil-Andre Aaamodt, third in 1:22.11.

Jaerbyn, who has had a disappointing World Cup season, was the first man to go and set a surprisingly fast time on the technical 1.37-mile piste which was powdered by fresh snow overnight. The Swede had never previously finished higher than fourth in his career and was faster than several of the leading skiers until Skaardal went down the 44-gate run as the 12th racer out of the hut.

The reigning World Cup super-G champion, Peter Runggaldier, of Italy, and the downhill champion, Luc Alphand, of France, were among those to disappoint. Hans Knaus, the leader of the super-G standings, had one of his worst races this season, and finished 12th. The men's super-G title was not awarded at the 1993 championships in Morioka, Japan, because of bad weather. The last winner was the Austrian Stefan Eberharter, who has been overshadowed by his team-mates this season and finished down the field.

"I was pretty nervous before the race," Skaardal said. "My main concern was adjusting my edges and deciding how hard I should take the turns. You can lose or win a lot of time on them. I had the perfect race, it could not have been better. "

Results, Sporting Digest, page 31

Photograph: Ruben Sprich/Reuter