Lucky number one for Ryan Cochran-Siegle (USA)
Ryan Cochran-Siegle repeated his mums' triumph and claimed gold medal in the men's downhill, starting with bib #1.
Exactly 40 years after Barbara Cochran won gold in the ladies slalom in the Olympics in Sapporo (1972), her son, Ryan Cochran-Siegle could celebrate his first gold medal, starting with bib number 1. The same number his mum won in. Starting first and finishing with the impressive time 1:11.99, the 20-year old Cochran-Siegle couldn't believe he still held the lead after 20 athletes had finished. The Swiss team was close however, and had a great finish, with 2 athletes on the podium. Second place and silver medaillist Ralph Weber expected to be on the podium, while third place and bronze medaillist Nils Mani was more surpried.
A challenging run was waiting the athletes this morning, first course inspection took place at 6:30 this morning, and several excited athletes were preparing for their Junior World Championships debut. First out was Cochran-Siegle, who hadn't performed as well as he had hoped for during the two first training runs. Skiing a clean line, and with the advantage of cold and hard snow, Cochran-Siegle had no problem down the course. Coming out with start bib number third, Nils Mani of Switzerland, made yet an impressive run. Having hoped for a spot on the podium, but never really dared to think it would turn out that way, Mani positioned himself as second. The fact that is was one of his team-mates knocking him out of the second position and down to third, was not a surprise. Ralph Weber has been performing well in downhill lately and was confident before his run. With the time 1:12.08, only +0.09 seconds behind Cochran-Siegle, a silver medal was well appreciated.
Warm temperatures, and a strong sun made the conditions harder for every athlete skiing down the course. One by one, they had to realize the win was probably settled and the podium was out of their reach. One of the most impressive performances was made by the young Norwegian Adrian Smiseth Sejersted, starting as number 36, but finishing 8th.
The race program for tomorrow will be finalized this afternoon, but it looks like the guys will compete in Super G, while the Girls will ski second run of their Giant Slalom.
Quotes from the medaillists:
Ryan Cochran-Sigele (USA), gold:
“The earlier you started today was definitely better. I had a good training the first day, but yesterday things didn't work out, and I was not expecting a win like this. The run was good, I like the terrain here, and it's a lot of fun.
Surely it's special to have my mum here, winning in front of here makes me proud, and by taking the first win it definitely gives me more confidence for the coming races. I have good chances in super g, but in the technical races I will have to do my best".
Ralph Weber (SUI), silver:
“I was aiming to be on the podium today, and I'm very happy with second place". .
Nils Mani (SUI), bronze:
“ I didn't allow myself to celebrate before the last athlete had finished. I was hoping for a medal, but I did not expect it to happen. Last year I finished 6th at the Junior Championships in Crans-Montana, so this was great".