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Austria's Mayer wins downhill skiing gold

AFP

Matthias Mayer won the men's Olympic downhill gold medal on Sunday to get Austria off to a perfect start in the Alpine skiing competition, according to provisional results.

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On a day when the big favourites failed to shine, Italy's Christof Innerhofer took the silver and Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud the bronze.

Mayer, who started 11th, is the son of 1988 super-G silver medallist Helmut. His gold medal provided an immediate boost for a men's team that failed to win a single medal in Vancouver four years ago.

“Of course it means a lot to me,” an emotional Mayer said. “It’s really difficult to go down the track without mistakes.”

Mayer, 23, completed the Rosa Khutor course in 2 minutes, 6.23 seconds. Innerhofer was 0.06 seconds behind and Jansrud earned bronze, 0.10 behind.

Favourites Bode Miller of the United States and Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, the downhill world champion and 2010 silver medallist, failed to live up to their pre-race billing on an overcast day on the Rosa Khutor piste.

Miller, 36, was bidding to become the oldest man to win an Alpine gold at a Games but was eighth after all the top skiers had finished.

Mayer was one of the first contenders to come down, with the No. 11 bib, and he hardly celebrated when he reached the finish. But his smile grew wider as all the favorites failed to catch him and he began jumping up and down before going out for the flower ceremony.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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