Canadian skier Jack Crawford earns World Cup silver on 2026 Olympic course
Toronto native snags 2nd downhill podium of season; Austria's Kriechmayr wins gold
Canada's Jack Crawford reached his second alpine skiing World Cup podium of the season on Wednesday, grabbing downhill silver in Bormio, Italy.
Crawford's time of one minute 55.08 seconds left him 0.4 seconds behind Austrian gold medallist Vincent Kriechmayr, who collected his 14th career World Cup downhill victory. Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished 0.28 further back of Crawford in third.
The 25-year-old Crawford previously bagged downhill bronze in Beaver Creek, Colo., earlier in December. The Toronto native is also an Olympic bronze medallist after placing third in alpine combined in Beijing.
The result also marked Crawford's fourth straight top-seven finish.
"I'm really happy with a second-place finish today," said Crawford. "Moving into the new year, I couldn't be happier than to be standing on the podium."
WATCH | Crawford scores silver in Italy:
Only Kreichmayr could outrace the Canadian on the demanding Stelvio course, and he made it look easy.The world champion from Austria skied the icy and bumpy 2,268-kilometre run to perfection to win the final men's World Cup downhill of 2022.
Kilde was the World Cup downhill champion last season and won three of the four previous downhills this campaign, with Kriechmayr the only other winner — in another Italian resort, Val Garena, two weeks ago.
On Wednesday, Kriechmayr managed to avoid trouble on the challenging course, which will be used for the men's downhill at the 2026 Olympics.
Despite the many bumps and rolls, he maintained full control and never came off his race line, while most of his rivals struggled on parts of their runs.
"Winning here means a lot. It's one of the classic events and every ski racer dreams of winning them once," said Kriechmayr, who had three previous podium results on the Stelvio without a win.
After winning three downhills this season and clocking the fastest time by far in Tuesday's final training, Kilde was widely regarded as the favourite.
However, he had no previous top-three results on the Stelvio. He was behind Kriechmayr's time throughout his run and only just avoided a crash when he quickly regained his balance near the end.
"Vince was just too good today," Kilde said. "It was a good run but not good enough."
Final men's race of 2022 on Thursday
Overall World Cup leader Marco Odermatt finished 1.46 behind in fourth and didn't lose much ground on Kilde in the standings. The Swiss skier is still 261 points ahead of his rival. Six-time winner Dominik Paris of Italy placed 10th.
Canada had three other skiers finish in the top 20, with Cameron Alexander of North Vancouver, B.C., in 12th (1:57.22), Brodie Seger — also of North Vancouver — in 16th (1:57.78) and Jeffrey Read of Canmore, Alta., in 18th (1:57.93).
"Today was a really good team result," said Crawford. "We haven't had these many guys in the top 20 in a long time and to see everyone pushing and putting down skiing like that is really exciting"
Two Olympic downhill champions, Swizerland's Beat Feuz (2022) and Austria's Matthias Mayer (2014), sat out the race due to illness. Last week Feuz announced he will retire next month.
The event started following a 10-minute delay after one of the forerunners, who test the course prior to a race, crashed and safety netting had to be reinstalled.
A super-G on Thursday is the last men's World Cup race of 2022.
With files from CBC Sports