Austria’s Mayer wins Olympic super-G, breaks Norway’s streak

Pyeongchang Olympics Alpine Skiing_547131

Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal makes a turn during the men’s super-G at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Jeongseon, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

JEONGSEON, South Korea (AP) Matthias Mayer of Austria won the Olympic men’s super-G on Friday, breaking Norway’s 16-year grip on the title.

Mayer won the speed race by 0.13 seconds ahead of Beat Feuz of Switzerland, who added the silver medal to his bronze from downhill on Thursday.

Defending champion Kjetil Jansrud of Norway was third, 0.18 seconds behind Mayer. It’s Jansrud’s fifth career Olympic medal after getting downhill silver.

Norway had won the past four Olympic men’s super-G races – a streak begun at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

Aksel Lund Svindal, the 2010 Olympic champion in super-G, placed fifth the day after taking Mayer’s downhill title.

Low-ranked skiers in the 62-racer lineup were yet to start, but they are not a threat to the medal times on another near-perfect clear and cold day for racing.

It’s been an interesting week for Mayer. He crashed into a course-side television cameraman Tuesday in the slalom leg of the combined event, won by his teammate, Marcel Hirscher.

Mayer seemed to be feeling the effects of that fall two days later, with a disappointing ninth finish in defense of his 2014 Olympic downhill title.

His victory Friday tops that of his father, Helmut, who won silver in super-G when it joined the Olympic program at the 1988 Calgary Games.

The last non-Norwegian to win the men’s super-G gold medal was Hermann Maier at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. The Austrian great won that race three days after walking away unhurt from a spectacular cartwheeling crash in downhill.

The super-G, short for super-giant slalom, is a single run raced on a slightly shorter, twistier course than downhill and is more unpredictable. The skiers do not get to practice through the exact set of gates designed by a national team coach who is chosen by lottery.

An Italian coach set Friday’s 1 2/5-mile (2.3-kilometer) course, though that didn’t help his racer Peter Fill, the No. 1 starter. Fill missed a gate after taking the wrong launch angle over a jump.

Two pre-race medal contenders lost speed by striking the same flagged gate with their right arms. Hannes Reichelt of Austria was knocked off balance, and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway had his ski pole ripped out of his right hand.

Andrew Weibrecht could not make it three straight Olympics with a medal in super-G, having taken bronze in 2010 and silver four years ago. The often-injured American missed a gate after flying too far off a jump. Ted Ligety of the United States, the 2013 world champion in super-G, also failed to finish.

For more AP Olympic coverage:

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