Kudos to Marcel Hirscher, six-time overall World Champion who is now — finally — an Olympic Champion as well. The Austrian superstar took the first alpine gold in the Alpine Combined in the PyeongChang games today. Hirscher put down an unexpectedly fast run in the downhill segment, finishing 12th in the speed event, with a shocking time just 1 1/2 seconds off the lead. Downhill pacesetter was Germany’s Thomas Dressen, who came out of nowhere a month ago to win the Hahnenkamm. The question on everyone’s mind between heats was, how good is Dressen at technical events? Not bad, actually, just 3 1/2 seconds slower than the world champ and good enough to place 9th in the event. Silver and bronze went to the French duo of Lexi Pinturault and Victor Muffat-Jeandet, both of whom were among the long list of possible medalists in this event.
So Hirscher gets the gold that eluded him, and moves a notch higher on the roster of all-time greats. Not gonna put him at the top yet; he needs to show us a pure downhill victory sometime in his career in order to crack into that class. But I have little doubt that it will happen someday, and he may very well eclipse Lindsey Vonn as the greatest all-around skier of all time.
On to some regular news stuff, that missing skier at Whiteface Resort in upstate New York has been found. Reader Dave Duma filled us in yesterday, thanks Dave! If you hadn’t heard, Danny Filippidis, a 49-year-old firefighter from Toronto was skiing at the one time Olympic venue last Wednesday. At day’s end his car was still in the parking lot, bag still on a hook in the lodge, but Mr. Filippidis was nowhere to be seen. This resulted in an emergency search and rescue mission, involving everyone from ski patrol to local fire departments and mountain rescue volunteers from across the north country. Helicopters, dogs, you name it — the search went on for days, across hundreds of square miles in the wilderness. Final tally was 135 volunteers combining for 7,000 hours of search time…all brought to a halt when Danny phoned in from Sacramento, California. Police there found Filippidis in the ski clothing he disappeared in, so who knows. As the New York State Police official spokesperson said, “The circumstances regarding this case are under investigation, and further details will be released at a later time.”