Sandro Viletta wins surprise gold in men's super-combined
Veteran Kostelic takes 3rd straight Olympic silver
Swiss skier Sandro Viletta put in a stellar slalom run to win the gold medal in the Sochi Olympic men’s super-combined on Friday.
Viletta finished in a combined time of two minutes, 45.20 seconds over the downhill and slalom runs that make up the competition. The winner is the competitor with the fastest total time.
Ivica Kostelic of Croatia won his third consecutive Olympic silver medal in the event, posting a total time of 2:45.54. He is the first man to win three Olympic medals in the combined.
Kostelic was seventh after the downhill, a strong performance for the technical specialist. The 34-year-old won silver in the combined at the Turin Games, and silver in both the combined and the slalom at the Vancouver Olympics.
Christof Innerhofer of Italy demonstrated improved slalom skills to win the bronze medal. Innerhofer has been known as more of a downhill specialist, but he tied technical specialist Kostelic on the slalom portion of the event.
Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud was leading the event after the downhill, but finished fourth overall after the slalom, missing a medal by 0.59 seconds.
American skiers had won this event at the last two Olympic Games. Vancouver champion Bode Miller struggled through a series of gates high on the slalom course and never recovered enough speed to challenge for the podium.
Teammate Ted Ligety, who won the combined in Turin, never looked comfortable on the slalom course and finished well back.
Canadian Morgan Pridy had a tough go of it in his first Olympic experience. The Whistler, B.C., native was in 25th place following the downhill. During the slalom, Pridy struggled with his rhythm and finished in 2:50.03, good for 20th overall.
Warm temperatures in the slalom run made course conditions slower. It seemed to be a factor in the downhill as well, with Jansrud's time in the ninth starting slot not overly threatened by subsequent skiers.
Through the duration of the slalom, skiers fought the soft and wet conditions, many losing the battle and scoring a DNF.