Dominik Paris tames the Streif
KITZBUEHEL, Austria – Hands in the air and eyes that check the time over and over again, making sure that what the green light the big screen is showing is real. This is what happened seconds after Dominik Paris crossed the finish line writing his name among the legends who have won the Streif Downhill.
With a perfect run, carrying speed from the very first to the very last gate Paris crossed the finish line in 1 minute, 57.56 seconds leaving everyone else behind. The closest to get to the Italian’s time was Eric Guay; he finished in second place, only 0.13 seconds behind Paris.
Austrians fans were not left disappointed; Hannes Reichlet owned a spot on the podium for the home team continuing the tradition of having a local representation among the best.
“I really couldn’t have asked for a better season. I still don’t believe it. I am speechless and this is going to take some time to sink in,” Paris said trying to put into words what was going through his head in the minutes after he won the most prestigious Downhill in the world.
“To win Kitzbuehel is beyond what I could have dreamed of. I really didn’t expect it… I was not among the best in the training runs and I had no idea what to expect from the race. But I knew that I if I wanted to make a difference I would have to do that in the bottom section. I picked my line and was able to execute the plan perfectly – I think that’s how I earned this victory!”
Paris’ first victory came earlier this season when he shared the top of the podium with Reichelt in Bormio but there is no doubt in his mind that winning on the Streif falls into a different category.
“This is the best victory one could have in a winter, Bormio was my first and for sure it’s special but winning Kitzbuehel is something I wanted to do since I was about six years old so this is a dream come true.”
Erik Guay skied an almost perfect run but when it comes to the Streif, it’s a course that doesn’t forgive any mistakes…
“I think the way I have been skiing well since Wengen and this podium was in the making. I had a good shot at the podium already in the Super G but it didn’t work out so today I gave it my best shot. I knew I needed to be fast on the top section and I did that, but I didn’t pus as much as Paris on the lower part and that’s where those 13 hundreds escaped from me.”
Winning is important but not everything for Guay and he certainly knows how to appreciate a second place.
“ It’s important for me to keep thing in perspective, especially after not skiing all that great in the training runs I was able to do much better in the race. What I love the most about skiing, and it’s becomes even more obvious here in Kitzbuehel is finding how far you can push yourself, which risks you are willing to take and that’s why I’m so happy to be on the podium.”
Third ranked Reichelt and today’s winner Paris seem to share a passion for steep, bumpy and fast Downhills. After tying in first place at the Bormio Downhill, the two met on the podium once again.
“I would have loved to share that first place with Paris again, but he didn’t feel like sharing and was a bit more selfish this time” Reichelt joked. “There is so much pressure for us here in Kitzbuehel, expectations are high on the Austrian team but I believe we gave fans a great show and that’s important. It a great way to advertise the World Championships in Schladming and showcase the best our sport has to offer. I am really happy with how everything went today and can’t wait for the World Champs.”
The most thrilling event of the weekend might be behind us but on Sunday Kitzbuehel will be ready for the Slalom and Combined race so don’t miss it and tune in at 10.15 and 13.15 CET!
by Ana Jelusic