Skiing: Kjus chases famous five
Sunday 14 February 1999
The bearded, balding Norwegian has won two gold and two silver medals here, taking his second gold in Friday's giant slalom with a barnstorming run to see off the challenge of the unknown Marco Buechel of Lichtenstein, who had threatened to produce the surprise of the championships so far when he established a sizeable lead on the first leg. In a thrilling climax, Kjus just edged ahead by a mere 0.05sec.
In capturing his fourth medal, Kjus matched the record of the great Swiss champion Pirmin Zurbriggen in 1987. Like Zurbriggen in Crans- Montana, Kjus won the giant slalom and super-G and finished second in the downhill and combined.
Kjus, the 1996 World Cup overall champion who also leads this season's overall standings, trailed Buechel by 0.25sec and had to work hard to make up the deficit. Buechel was faster than early in his second heat, but lost fractions of seconds in the middle and bottom sections. He still produced the second-fastest second-leg run, but lost out by an agonising margin to a delighted Kjus. "This is amazing, unbelievable," he said. "This is my greatest victory ever, I think. I enjoy giant slalom the most. That's where I think the competition is the hardest."
Buechel said he was nervous between runs "but I didn't freak out. This was brand new for me. I had never been in the top three after the first run. I knew the other guys were really fast."
The pre-race favourite, Switzerland's Michael Von Gruenigen, the leader of the World Cup giant slalom standings and the defending world champion, blew his chance in the first leg, in which he finished only ninth. And it was a rare poor day for the Austrians, who have dominated here. Christian Mayer was Austria's top finisher, in eighth place.
Despite being shut out, Austria retained their lead in the medals table, with 12. Norway have seven.
Hermann Maier, of Austria, Kjus' greatest rival in the battle for domination of the sport, was seeking his third gold medal in these championships in the giant slalom, but he was one of three medal contenders who failed to finish the second run.
He and Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt both lost edges on Pepi's Face, the final steep slope before the finish. The Austrian rookie Benjamin Raich lost an edge and missed a gate early in the run.
Stephan Eberharter of Austria, another favourite, went skiing into soft snow and skidded wide of a gate, failing to finish the first run.
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli scored as many goals for AC Milan on second debut as he did for Liverpool in the Premier League last season
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Jose Mourinho: Chelsea manager has four Guinness World records hanging in his office
Manchester United will pay Monaco £7.2m extra if Anthony Martial scores 25 goals in four years as deal could rise to incredible £58m
Pedro hits outs at Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal for treatment of Victor Valdes
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...
£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...
£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...
£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...