Alpine skiing-Canada's Crawford wins super-G gold by slimmest of margins

Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Super G - Courchevel, France - February 9, 2023 Canada's James Crawford reacts after his run REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel

COURCHEVEL, France (Reuters) -Canada's James Crawford won the men's super-G by the slimmest of margins in a stunning upset at the Alpine skiing world championships on Thursday.

Starting 10th down Courchevel's gleaming L'Eclipse piste, Crawford grabbed the gold by finishing just 0.01 faster than Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and in a time of one minute 07.22 seconds.

Kilde, ninth out of the start hut, had barely time to celebrate going top but the medal was still his first from a senior world championships.

Local hero Alexis Pinturault, winner of the combined on Tuesday, had to settle for bronze and 0.26 off the pace after earlier raising hopes of a second win when he went fastest wearing bib number eight.

"It feels pretty surreal to now be etched into the history books as another Canadian world champion," said Crawford.

Kilde felt he lost the gold on one turn but the Canadian had deserved it.

"Today I felt like I hit 99% of the course but there was one turn that I didn't hit that well. But that's the sport. And I think also Crawford could have done a better job and been even further in front," he added.

"It's one hundredth, it's sour but I'll take it."

Switzerland's World Cup overall leader Marco Odermatt was fourth and surprisingly out of the medals on a course set by the Swiss coach.

Austrian Marco Schwarz, starting 21st, had looked good for a late surprise with the fastest time through the third sector but then made a big error approaching the finish and dropped out of podium contention.

The gold was a first for Crawford, who took combined bronze at the 2022 Beijing Olympics but has yet to win a World Cup race although he has twice finished on the downhill podium this season.

The 25-year-old is the first Canadian super-G world champion since Erik Guay in St Moritz in 2017.

"I've been searching to win a race for the last two years and I just haven't quite been able to do it, and today I managed to do it at a world championships which just makes it a little bit sweeter," said Crawford.

He had said before the race that he did not feel any pressure.

"I think with where my skiing was at and how it was feeling, the pressure wasn't there," he added. "It wasn't that I didn't believe I could win but it wasn't on my mind.

"It just felt good the whole way," he said of his run. "I felt like I was putting the pressure in the right place, the equipment was nice and I was carving. When I crossed the finish line I was a little bit surprised.

"It just felt good today, it wasn't anything special."

Austria's 2021 super-G champion Vincent Kriechmayr finished 12th.

Italy's Dominik Paris, the 2019 super-G world champion, crashed heavily at speed after pushing too aggressively and catching a ski edge on a gate.

Paris appeared to be in some pain but was able to stand and, skis removed, trudged off from the slope with Odermatt waiting to go next.

The Italian skiers were all wearing black armbands with the team mourning the death from cancer on Wednesday of 2005 downhill silver medallist Elena Fanchini.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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