Outstanding Marco Odermatt Wins World Cup Opening Giant Slalom in Sölden
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
Marco Odermatt has started the Giant Slalom World Cup season the same way he finished it in Courchevel, winning. Today, after setting the best time in the first run, he laid down a risky second run to claim victory with a combined time of 2:04.72, finishing 0.76 seconds ahead of Zan Kranjec. Henrik Kristoffersen rounded out the contested podium in the third position, 097 seconds behind Odermatt.
“The racing tension was there again. It's nice to be back. I knew from the start that the slope wasn't on the best conditions. So, I had to be mentally ready and accept the fight. A win here is perfect. It’s an amazing start to the new season. Sölden is always special, and it is very important if you can have a good result. It gives you confidence you did everything right in the summer, and it’s easier to ski the next races", said Odermatt.
Since his first podium in Kranjska Gora in 2019 Odermatt has claimed 8 victories and a total of 18 podiums in Giant Slalom in the World Cup. This makes him the second most successful Swiss in this discipline at the age of 25. Only Michael von Grünigen with 23 wins is still clearly ahead of him.
The 25-year-old Swiss ace won last year's season opener in Sölden, after he had finished runner-up in the same event in 2020-2021. The last man to win the Opening Giant Slalom event in successive World Cup seasons was Ted Ligety, who won it in four consecutive seasons from 2010-2011 to 2013-2014 (1 in Beaver Creek, 3 in Sölden).
Marco Odermatt shows today in Sölden, he will be again the man to beat this season in Giant Slalom. Odermatt won last season's GS Crystal Globe. He was the first Swiss man to do so since Didier Cuche in 2008-2009.
Last season Odermatt was the absolute dominator of the discipline. He finished on the podium in all eight World Cup Giant Slalom events this season: 5 wins (Sölden, Val d'Isère, Alta Badia, Adelboden and Meribel-Courchevel), 2 second places (Alta Badia and Kranjska Gora) and 1 third place (Kranjska Gora).
The last skier to claim a podium finish in all World Cup Giant Slalom events contested in a single season was Marcel Hirscher in the 2017-2018 season (7 races, 7 podiums, 6 wins).
To round a perfect season the Swiss also won Olympic gold in this discipline in Beijing 2022 and the Overall Crystal Globe.
Zan Kranjec, who also finished second behind Odermatt in the Giant Slalom at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, was happy with his second place. “It’s nice to start the season like this, I really love this racecourse, I’ve been successful here before but today's second place, just behind a great Odermatt, please me a lot. I'm always very happy when I'm on the podium", said the Slovenian. Today's second place is his 9th podium in the World Cup. Three of them were achieved in Sölden.
Henrik Kristoffersen has raced seven times in Sölden and his best results until today were a 5th place in 2020, sixth in 2015, and 8th in 2016. "It’s unbelievable – before today Sölden was my worst hill in Giant Slalom on the tour" he said.
“Being on the podium in Sölden after making two big mistakes shows that the material is right. Everyone said to me it was a challenge, a big move, but with Marcel you know that if he's behind it, then that's fine", said Kristoffersen.
After the cancellation of the Women's race on Saturday due to bad weather, the race took place today under blue skies in front of a fervent crowd of 14,500 ski fans.