Alpine Skiing

CBC Sports - Sunday Feb. 9, 2014 03:51 ET

Austria's Matthias Mayer wins downhill gold

'It is what it is,' Erik Guay says of 10th-place finish

Matthias Mayer of Austria wins Olympic downhill
Matthias Mayer of Austria celebrates after a run during the Alpine Skiing Men's Downhill at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 9, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Matthias Mayer of Austria won gold in the Olympic men's downhill in Sochi on Sunday, as Canada extended its 20-year drought of Olympic medal wins.

Mayer finished the Rosa Khutor course in 2 minutes, 6.23 seconds. Christof Innerhofer of Italy took silver and Kjetil Jansrud of Norway got the bronze.

Erik Guay, Canada's most successful alpine skier, was the country's likeliest contender to reach the podium but finished 10th with a time of 2:07.04.

"There was a little of punch lacking in my skiing, and that made the difference between first and tenth," Guay told CBC Sports. 

But visibility was also a factor, he said. 

"The light was flatter today so it was difficult to see, especially for the later numbers the course deteriorated. I don't think anybody beat me from the back, so that's a good sign, it means I skied how the conditions were."

Other Canadians in the event finished behind Guay, as Ben Thomsen, Jan Hudec and Manual Osborne-Paradis finished 19th, 21st and 25th, respectively.

"We're not here to finish tenth and up, we're here for podium finishes," Guay said. "It didn't happen today.

"For sure this is a little bit to swallow. This isn't where I wanted to end up, and I didn't want Canadians to see me here, either. It is what it is, but again we get another shot at it."

Pre-race favourites Aksel Lund Svindal came in fourth and American Bode Miller finished eighth.

Nobody could catch Mayer, who is one of the more surprising gold medallists in the sport's marquee event, as he has never finished better than fifth in a World Cup downhill.

Mayer became Austria's top contender when Hannes Reichelt was sidelined with back surgery after winning the Kitzbuhel downhill two weeks ago.

Austria has won more Olympic men's downhills than any other nation — six of the last 17 — with the most recent in 2002 from Fritz Strobl.

Guay will compete again, in the super-G event on Sun., Feb. 16. 

"I'm already gearing up and trying to get my mind ready for that day," he said.

- With files from The Associated Press

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