Preview: Men's super combined

21 February 2010 01:36

The men's super combined, originally scheduled for Tuesday, will make its Olympic debut on Sunday, February 21, with the downhill portion of the race starting at 9:30 a.m. PST and the slalom taking place at 12:15 a.m. PST.

 

Facts and figures

Alpine Skiing began its competition history at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 Olympic winter Games with men's and ladies'(traditional) combined races - consisting of three runs, namely a downhill or super G run and two slalom runs - as the only contested events.

Later on, with the inclusion of giant slalom at the Oslo 1952 Olympic Games, the (traditional) combined event was dropped until the Calgary 1988 Olympic Games when it was reintroduced, this time with special dedicated combined runs in downhill and slalom.
Since the Torino 2006 Olympic Games, the format of the combined has been changed to a two run event, known as the super combined (with a downhill run and one single slalom run instead of two). Both are held the same day and times are added together with the fastest overall time determining the winner. Usually the downhill or super G is carried out first, followed by the slalom.

 

Medal contenders

Top medal contenders for the super combined include two-time overall champion Bode Miller (USA) who earned his second straight medal yesterday in super G, taking silver after bronze in downhill for a total of four Olympic medals in his career. In the Torino 2006 Olympics, Miller recorded the fastest time in the downhill portion of the super combined but was then disqualified for straddling a gate in his first slalom run.

Carrying momentum from his two medals and having won a super combined World Cup race this season, former slalom specialist Miller hopes to win another medal knowing very well that super combined can be an unforgiving event.

Defending champion Ted Ligety, who was the beneficiary of Austrian Benjamin Raich's misfortune in the combined at the Torino Games, has been consistent in slalom this season and hopes to defend his title at Whistler Creekside.

Among the favorites is definitely also Croatian all-rounder Ivica Kostelic, the brother of alpine great Janica. He won silver in the Torino Games combined event behind American Ted Ligety. Kostelic has admitted his chances of another Olympic medal in the combined could hinge on whether the slalom course proves tough enough to stop American Bode Miller.

Kostelic took 18th in Monday's downhill. He is not a downhill specialist and cannot afford to finish far behind Miller if he is to harbour any chances of winning a medal going into the second leg slalom. "I have to look at the time difference between me and the top guys in the downhill. If it's one second, then I think it's acceptable," said Kostelic. Today he finished third in training, just 0.15 seconds back of the leader.

His father Ante, reputed for setting tough courses, will be setting tomorrow's slalom course of the super combined event.

Another strong contender is the 2006 World Cup overall champion and current overall leader Benjamin Raich of Austria. He won a bronze medal in the discipline in the Salt Lake City 2002 Games.

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, who turns 28 in a week (26 Feb), earned his second straight Olympic medal in the super G on Friday. The two-time and defending World Cup overall champion has earned points in three of the four combined events this season.

The fastest time in the training run for the downhill portion of the men's super combined was stopped for the Swiss Didier Defago, who won the Olympic gold medal in the men's downhill but is not known to be a strong technical skier, failing to finish slaloms more often than ranking.

His teammate Silvan Zurbriggen however could prove to be a medal threat. He finished second in the downhill training run today and has had some strong finishes in World Cup slaloms this season.

 

Medal Standings

 

Alpine Skiing medal standings after 5 events (2 men's, 3 ladies)

Position Nation GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
1 USA 1 3 3 7
2 NOR 1 1   2
3 AUT 1   1 2
4 GER 1     1
4 SUI 1     1
6 SLO   1   1
7 SWE     1 1

 

 

Weather forecast

Canada at 2 PM PST Saturday 20 February 2010.
The next mountain forecast will be issued at 5 AM Sunday.

Synopsis. A strong ridge of high pressure remains stationary over the South Coast and will maintain dry and mild conditions through Sunday.

5 Day Trend. The ridge of high pressure will remain anchored over BC through Monday however the ridge is expected to weaken around the middle of the week allowing increasing amounts of moisture from the Pacific Ocean into the area midweek.

Whistler - Blackcomb.
Tonight. Clear.
Alpine low steady near minus 2.
Freezing level lowering to valley bottom with an above freezing layer from 1100 to 1800 metres.
Mountain top winds northeast 20 to 30 km/h easing to light northerly.

Sunday. Sunny.
Alpine high plus 2.
Freezing level rising to 2200 metres in the afternoon.
Mountain top winds northerly 10 to 20 km/h.

 

Schedule for remaining Alpine skiing events

 

Sunday, Feb 21:
* Men's super combined downhill at 9:30 local time
* Men's super combined slalom at 12:15 local time

Tuesday, Feb 23:
* Men's giant slalom, 1st run at local time
* Men's giant slalom, 2nd run at 13:00 local time

Wednesday, Feb 24:
* Ladies giant slalom, 1st run at 10:00 local time
* Ladies giant slalom, 2nd run at 13:15 local time

Friday, Feb 26:
* Ladies slalom, 1st run at 10:00 local time
* Ladies slalom, 2nd run at 13:30 local time

Saturday, Feb 27:
* Men's slalom, 1st run at 10:00 local time
* Men's slalom, 2nd run at 13:45 local time