Courchevel-Méribel 2023. Downhill Races Preview
Updated: Feb 10
The 47th Alpine World Ski Championships in Méribel and Courchevel continues on Saturday with the Women's Downhill Event followed by the Men's event on Sunday.
Defending Champions Corinne Suter and Vincent Kriechmayr are the ones to fight to retain the title.
Saturday 11 February. 11:00 CET Roc de Fer Downhill Women
Sunday 12 February. 11:00 CET L'Eclipse Downhill Men
Corinne Suter won the Downhill Race at the 2021 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Cortina with a winning time of 1:34.27 seconds. Behind Suter in second place (+0.20 sec) was Kira Weidle from Germany. Lara Gut-Behrami (+0.37 sec) finished in third place.
Suter can become the first woman to win three successive global titles in this event. She was the first Swiss woman to win the Downhill world title since Maria Walliser (she won back-to-back world titles in the Downhill in 1987 and 1989).
Sofia Goggia won gold in the Downhill at the Olympic Winter Games in 2018 and picked up silver in 2022, but she has yet to reach the podium in this event at the World Championships with a fourth-place finish in St. Moritz 2017 as her best result. She missed the world championships in Cortina 2021 due to injury.
The 30-year-old Italian skier leads the Downhill World Cup standings this season and won the Downhill crystal globe in three of the last five seasons (2017-2018, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022).
Goggia hopes to become the second Italian woman to claim the Downhill world title, 91 years after Paula Wiesinger won in Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1932.
Ilka Štuhec won the Downhill world title in St. Moritz 2017 and Åre 2019. She could join Christel Cranz (3) and Annemarie Moser-Pröll (3) on a record three Downhill world titles among women.
32-year-old Štuhec can become the oldest women's Downhill world champion. Her compatriot Tina Maze (31 years in 2015) currently holds the record.
Lara Gut-Behrami has claimed three medals in the Downhill at the world championships (Val d'Isère 2009, Vail/Beaver Creek 2015, and Cortina 2021) but has yet to win the world title. Only Nini von ArzZogg (G0-S2-B1) has won as many medals in the Downhill without claiming gold.
Only Lindsey Vonn (8) has won more World Championship medals in the women's speed events than the 31-year-old Swiss skier (6).
Kira Weidle won silver in the Downhill at the Cortina 2021 World Championships. She can become the first German woman to win the world title in this event since Rosi Mittermaier won Olympic gold for West Germany in Innsbruck 1976
Vincent Kriechmayr's tactical approach in the Vertigine racecourse payd off to win a second gold in Cortina in the Downhill.
Andreas Sander missed gold only by 0.01 seconds. He has claimed for Germany the first world championship medal in the Men's Downhill since 2001.
Beat Feuz finished in third place 0.18 seconds behind Kriechmayr.
The last man to win back-to-back world titles in the Men's Downhill was Bernhard Russi in 1970-1972.
Kriechmayr could join six men on a record two world titles in this event: Aksel Lund Svindal, Russi, Jean-Claude Killy, Toni Sailer, Walter Prager, and Zeno Colò.
Austria has won 17 world titles in the Men's Downhill, most for a country in a single event.
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde has won five of the eight men's World Cup Downhill events this season. He is the first man to win at least five World Cup Downhill events in a single season since Stephan Eberharter in 2001-2002 (6).
Last Wednesday, Kilde claimed his first medal at a World Championship when he finished second in the Super-G event. The Attacking Viking has collected two Olympic medals: silver in the Alpine Combined and bronze in the Super-G at Beijing 2022.
Kilde can become the third Norwegian man to win a world title in the Downhill, after Aksel Lund Svindal (2007, 2013) and Kjetil Jansrud (2019).
Marco Odermatt has recorded seven Downhill second places in the World Cup, but has never won one.
Odermatt has yet to win a medal at a senior World Championships. In 2018, the 25-year-old Swiss won five gold medals at the Junior World Championships: Giant Slalom, Super-G, Downhill, Alpine combined, and Team Event.
42-year-old Johan Clarey holds the record of oldest medallist, male or female, at a World Championships as he grabbed silver in the Men's Super-G in Åre 2019 at age 38.
Last year, Clarey claimed silver in the Men's Downhill at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games which made him the oldest Olympic medallist in Alpine Skiing.
The last Frenchman to win the downhill world title was Jean-Claude Killy at the Olympic Games in Grenoble in 1968 (also counted as world title). Since 1968, only two Frenchmen claimed a World Championship medal in the Downhill: Luc Alphand in 1996 (bronze), and David Poisson in 2013 (bronze).