Henrik Kristoffersen Crowned Slalom World Champion at Courchevel-Méribel
Updated: Feb 20
The last World Champion has been crowned, making the 2023 Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel history.
Henrik Kristoffersen is the new Slalom World Champion. After the first run, 18 of the starters were within one second of the lead. The Norwegian was 16th.
On a twisting and challenging course setting Kristoffersen made up 15 positions overcoming a 0.91 seconds deficit and thus clinched the gold medal after setting the best time in a dream second run, the biggest Slalom comeback at a World Championship.
"I didn't think it was enough. I made too many mistakes in the first part of the course. I knew the second run suits me. The first run was very direct, the second run was much more turning. I've won 24 World Cup races in Slalom and been on the podium about 50 times. It's my first gold, it might be the right time", Kristoffersen said.
"Now it’s done, I’m pretty calm. It’s worse standing in the finish and waiting than standing at the top. I’ve done both plenty of times, but the finish is worse because you’ve done your run, and you can’t change anything. So it was pretty emotional when Manu crossed the finish line", he added.
The 28-year-old Norwegian had won a bronze in 2021 at Cortina d'Ampezzo and at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
Henrik Kristoffersen joins Stein Eriksen (Åre 1954), Kjetil André Aamodt (Morioka Shizukuishi 1993), Tom Stiansen (Sestriere 1997) and Sebastian Foss Solevåg (Cortina 2021) as the only Norwegian World Champions in the Men's Slalom.
Kristoffersen won the Men's Giant Slalom world title in Åre 2019. He is the 10th man to win world titles in both the Slalom and Giant Slalom, and the third Norwegian after Stein Eriksen and Kjetil André Aamodt.
Kristoffersen won the first gold medal for Hirscher's Van Deer-Red Bull Ski Brand.
Following his maiden World Cup podium in Chamonix, Greek AJ Ginnis finished in second place 0.20 seconds behind Kristoffersen. His silver medal is the first World Championship medal for Greece in a winter sport.
"I can't believe it, I don't know what happened. I focused on the track and thought that wasn't enough. I gave everything in the last gates. The last two weeks have been a dream. For Greece it's history, for me it's a dream come true", said Ginnis.
Alex Vinatzer completed the podium for Italy 0.38 seconds behind Kristoffersen. The 23-year-old Italian skier was ahead of Kristoffersen at the last split, but then lost seven tenths of a second in the final section of the course.
“I can’t wait to see my family and hug them. I had a really tough winter, lots of DNF's and straddles. So many failures eroded my self-confidence. I was always having to get up again and believe in myself. Today was really tough. The second run was so turny at the top, and I nearly lost it at the last section. I just tried to push and not go too straight. It worked out pretty well. In fourth place you feel like a loser, and in third you feel like a winner. I cried like a baby at the finish, and when I see my family I will probably cry again", Vinatzer said.
France's 2022 Olympic Slalom champion Clement Noel finished in fourth place (+0.41), missing a medal by 0.03 seconds.
Manuel Feller leader after the first run failed to claim the first gold for Austria at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships. For the first time since the 1987 World Championships in Crans Montana, the Austrian Team went home from the title fights without a gold medal.
Switzerland topped the medal standings at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships with three golds, three silvers, and one bronze.