August 8, 2022

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Just like his father did more than three decades ago, Austrian skier Johannes Strolz on...

Just like his father did more than three decades ago, Austrian skier Johannes Strolz on Thursday won Olympic gold in the Alpine combined race.
Until almost a month ago, Strolz was not even part of Austria’s hugely competitive Olympic team and, having lost his funding last year, had been working as a police officer to supplement his income, driving a patrol car and controlling traffic.
The 29-year-old, who has won only one World Cup slalom, was fourth fastest after the downhill run on Thursday. But he was half a second quicker than anyone else in the slalom, helping him edge the first-run leader Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway by 0.58 seconds. The combined adds the times from one downhill run and one slalom run.

Strolz’s father, Hubert, won gold in combined at the 1988 Calgary Games. Hubert Strolz also won silver in the giant slalom that year and almost won another Olympic combined four years later but missed a gate near the end of the second run and was disqualified.
“It’s really a great moment for me and I’m so thankful that I finally can live my dream and have this gold medal in my hands like my father did in 1988 in Calgary and, yeah, just a dream come true,” Strolz said. “The gold medal really means the world to me.”
Strolz and his dad are the first father-son duo to clinch Olympic gold in the same Alpine skiing event.
Strolz had a career-best finish of 10th in more than eight years of World Cup racing before winning last month in Adelboden. That victory earned him a spot on the team for the Beijing Games, where he is continuing to prepare his own slalom skis — as he has done all season. A member of the team prepares Strolz’s downhill skis – which he borrowed from Austria’s Super-G gold medallist Matthias Mayer.
“My skis were perfect today, especially the downhill skis. They were absolute rockets,” Strolz said. “I got the skis from Matthias Mayer and obviously he has very fast skis.”

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Johannes Strolz was fourth fastest on the downhill run. Photograph: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Jack Crawford of Canada finished third, 0.68sec behind Strolz and 0.09sec behind Kilde. The world champion Marco Schwarz of Austria was fifth, just behind his Swiss rival Justin Murisier.
For the 29-year-old Kilde it was his second medal of the Beijing Games. He also took bronze in the super-G on Tuesday.
“It was quite amazing. I haven’t skied slalom in two years. I just had a good feeling when I was skiing. I went for it, just pointed the skis and tried to stay in balance,” Kilde said. “It’s huge. What an Olympic Games it has been. Of course some emotions on the way, but still quite amazing.”
Kilde had been given tips by girlfriend Mikaela Shiffrin, who won gold in the slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games. Her 47 career World Cup wins in the slalom are more than anyone else has won in any single event — although the American failed to finish both of her events so far at the Beijing Games.
“She just said to me: ‘Keep up the tempo and keep the skis under you.’ And that’s what I’m going to do,” Kilde said after the downhill run.

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Shiffrin posted a message of congratulations on social media. “Literally hasn’t skied a run of slalom in years and then went and DID THAT. What an athlete!!” she wrote.
Strolz was not the only one on the podium with a family connection to a past Olympian. Crawford’s aunt, Judy Crawford Rawley, finished fourth in the slalom at the 1972 Sapporo Games.
“She always told me no one remembers fourth place, and it feels really good to not be in that situation,” said Crawford, who finished fourth in Monday’s downhill. “And it’s kind of cutthroat, but it’s true at the Olympic Games — a medal is everything, and that’s what you’re here to do and that’s what you want, and it feels amazing to have actually accomplished that.”
The winner of that slalom race 50 years ago in Japan was Barbara Ann Cochran, the mother of American skier Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who won silver in Tuesday’s super-G.
Austria’s Mayer, who took gold, went one better than his father, Helmut, who won a silver in the first Olympic super-G at the Calgary Games.

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