Brilliant Hirscher claims first Olympic gold

Brilliant Hirscher claims first Olympic gold

"I'm super happy because now this stupid question has gone away, if I'm thinking that my career is flawless without a gold medal", Hirscher said. "Now the questions is zzzzzzit - deleted". It was an aggressive yet measured piece of skiing that gave him a combined time of 2 minutes 6.52 seconds, 0.23 seconds ahead of Pinturault, with Muffat-Jeandet at 1.02 seconds.

His exploits on the slopes even inspired a song that became a runaway hit in Austria and will be the only thing that sticks in your head longer than one of his flawless slalom runs.

Hirscher said: "It was an incredible downhill, I think it was my best downhill ever". "I haven't been able to ski at a high level".

Hirscher crossed the finish line and briefly raised both his arms. The Norwegian threat petered out disappointingly despite two-time former world combined champion Aksel Lund Svindal finishing second fastest in the downhill.

The six-time victor of the world Cup alpine skiing, silver medalist in slalom at the Sochi Games in 2014, won't be missed this event, olympic since 1936, unlike the French who had made their turf in recent years in the world Cup of alpine skiing.

Hirscher has dominated the week-in, week-out World Cup circuit, accumulating 55 race wins, second among men only to Ingemar Stenmark's 86.

There could be more to come: Hirscher will be favored in the slalom and giant slalom.

Seventeen-year-old Kim snatched a stunning gold medal in the women's halfpipe snowboarding, while Hirscher's long hunt for an Olympic title finally ended.

Numerous best downhillers failed to finish, finding the slalom gates they rarely race too much to handle. Temperatures around zero and winds approaching 50 miles per hour left the snow hard and dry, more like what's found in Colorado than Austria.

Two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety of the USA, beleaguered by injuries the past few seasons - a torn ACL followed by back surgery - finished fifth. His specialty is the slalom and giant slalom events.

Weather was again a factor despite sunny blue skies in Jeongseon, though the race-time temperature for downhill was a frigid 12 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-11 degrees Celsius). In fact, because of the wind, the downhill start was given from the super-G, the lowest, and the jumps removed or mitigated. Though just 28 years old, he has said he does not expect to be racing by 2022. His previous best was a slalom silver from Sochi four years ago.

"I killed it. It is something special but really unexpected".

BC-OLY-SKI-Men's Combined-Ligety, 497 Injury-plagued Ligety encouraged by 5th in Olympic combinedAP Photo OLYAL257, OLYAL172, OLYAL157Eds: With AP Photos. Traditionalists like the mix of skills, but racers are now so specialized that those good at one discipline tend not to be competitive at the other. The last two years, I didn't ski at all really.

"It's good to always have a good race".

"I want to fight to prove my innocence because I don't remember (taking the drug) and it's incomprehensible", he said in a statement.While Kim's brilliant run in the halfpipe stole the show, gold medals also went to Sweden and Norway in cross country skiing, and Italy in short-track speedskating.

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