Carlo Janka wins Winter Olympics gold in giant slalom, Svindal earns third medal with bronze

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on February 23, 2010 1:16 pm

Carlo Janka, the 2009 giant slalom World Champion, is now the 2010 giant slalom Olympic champion at just 23-years-old. Janka, the leader after the first run, needed much of that cushion to hold off Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud.  Jansrud started the second run back in 11th place, and nearly won gold with a magical second run.  But, in the end, it was Janka who stands atop the podium.

It’s been a bummer of a Winter Olympics for Didier Cuche.  The 35-year-old sits in third in the World Cup overall standings, but it looks like Switzerland’s finest will miss out on the medals.  Cuche, 21st after the first run, blazed his second run, which kept him atop the podium for the next five racers, until Phillipp Schoerghofer of Austria squeezed Cuche off the top spot by 0.08 seconds.  Cuche finishes 14th.

From then on, the top spot was relinquished as if it were a nasty chore list.

Shoerghofer’s rein at the top lasted for just two racers, as Germany’s Felix Neureuther destroyed the top section, going up by more than a half-second, but then gave back a little time at the bottom, and finished ahead by 0.31 seconds.

Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud put down a lightning fast second run.  Trying to gain back the 0.80 seconds of his first run, Jansrud skied a flawless and daring second run. 

Racer after racer took a shot at Jansrud.  American Ted Ligety got bounced around up top, losing valuable time on the flatter part of the course.  Ultimately, mistakes up top and a wide turn on the steeps cost Ligety dearly.  Crossing the finish line in fourth position was a visibly frustrated Ted Ligety.  Ligety ended the day in ninth position, ending the American men’s streak of landing on the podium in every alpine race this Winter Olympics.

Benjamin Raich, the overall World Cup leader to this point in the season, wrapped an arm around a gate panel on his second run.  Raich lost any chance after that, and the Austrians continue their surprisingly poor Winter Olympics performance.  Skiing to Austrians is like obesity is to Americans.  Heads will role in Austria after this. 

Then it was up to the final three to best Jansrud.  Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway was unable, finishing 0.22 seconds back of Jansrud.  Romed Baumann of Austria continued the losing streak for Austria, finishing in fourth. 

Carlo Janka, however, used half of his 0.80 second lead over Jansrud, and finished 0.39 seconds ahead.  Janka, the rising star of the Swiss team, wins his first Olympic gold medal in the men’s giant slalom.  Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud wins silver, and his countryman, Aksel Lund Svindal takes the bronze.  Svinal, now like Bode Miller, has a gold, silver, and bronze at these Winter Olympics.

A remarkable feat to go with a huge year for Janka, who won all three races at Beaver Creek this past December.  It was Janka’s day in a career season for the young racer.

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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