The men’s FIS World Cup speed races in Bormio promised to be a spectacular event. The race course in Bormio is known for being probably the toughest in the World Cup speed series. Consisting of a Downhill and a Super-G event, Bormio is typically the last World Cup event of the calendar year. The’ Stelvio’ race course has been host to the World Cup since 1985.
On Wednesday, December 28, 2022, Stelvio hosted the Men’s Downhill event. Vincent Kriechmayr from Austria took away the win. “I’m happy I left the toughest race behind! I’m really happy, I did good and pushed from top to bottom. Stelvio is always difficult, maybe last year it was a little less as today it’s so icy, but it’s fantastic to give 100% until the end. Did I feel I could win? There are so many athletes deserving that you can never be that sure.” Second place went to James Crawford from Canada, and third place to Aleksander Aamodt Kilde from Norway.
On Thursday, after the Super-G course inspection in the morning, Olympic Gold medalist Matthias Mayer announced his immediate retirement. The shock announcement came after the Austrian race skier had not competed in the Downhill on the previous day due to illness. Matthias Mayr said, “It may be surprising and sudden, but this was my last inspection. I just don’t have the hunger for it anymore.” His announcement left many of his peers stunned. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was quoted as saying, “We all hope that he will say ‘it was a joke,’” but it appears the Austrian was deadly serious, as he did not compete in Thursday’s Super-G race either.
Matthias Mayr can look back on a fantastic career spanning 14 years. He has won 11 World Cup victories in the speed disciplines of Downhill and Super-G, including the famous Hahnenkamm race and three consecutive Olympic Gold medals in 2014, 2018, and 2022.
Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt won the Super-G in Bormio. This marks Marco Odermatt’s second Super-G win this season and his sixth Super-G win. Odermatt has 16 World Cup victories in total to his name at only 25 years of age. His strongest discipline is Giant-Slalom, and he is not only the defending World Cup title winner in Giant-Slalom but Alpine overall due to his strength across the three disciplines of Downhill, Super-G, and Giant-Slalom. Second place went to Vincent Kriechmayr from Austria, and third place went to Odermatt’s teammate Loic Meillard.
The win extended Odermatt’s lead in the World Cup standings to 946 points, more than 300 points ahead of Kilde. The dominance of the Swiss skier is quite significant and, given his young age, holds a lot of potential for his future.
The results for Team USA during the two events in Bormio, Italy, were as follows: On Wednesday in the Downhill race, Ryan Cochran-Siegle came an impressive 5th, while teammates Erik Arvidsson came 16th, Travis Ganong 24th, Sam Morse 36th, and Kyle Negomir 38th. Jared Goldberg and Bryce Bennet did not finish the icy downhill race course. On Thursday in the Super-G race, Ryan Cochran-Siegle was again the best male skier for Team USA, coming in 13th, while Erik Arvidsson came 21st, Kyle Negomir in 24th, Jared Goldberg 29th, and Travis Ganong 40th. Unfortunately, River Radamus and Bryce Bennett collected a DNF on Thursday’s race.
Amongst the highlights of the retirement of Matthias Mayr and the victory of the young Swiss defending alpine champion, a third rather unexpected highlight emerged on Thursday when a dog suddenly appeared on the race course, and the race had to be halted. The World Cup race was interrupted for more than five minutes as course officials tried to capture the cheeky canine in vain. The dog partly ran and partly slid down the icy course, careening down the race course at break-neck speed, managing to escape all efforts to capture it. It certainly provided comic relief for the world’s best race skiers, who were caught on camera chuckling at the sight of the furry competitor on course. Spectators were ringing their cowbells and cheering the dog on as he made it down most of the race course without being captured. It is unclear how the dog was finally retrieved, but I am sure the owner will be holding him on a short leash in the future.