Winter Sports

Men’s speed kings get the show started in Lake Louise

Olympic and world champions poised to challenge

The man whose downhill title Kilde took has certainly not gone anywhere. The 35-year-old Feuz is arguably one of the greatest ever men’s downhillers and his 13th season on tour was typically impressive. Not only did he win the Olympic downhill gold in Beijing and finish second in the overall downhill standings, but he also broke a long-standing record for the most men’s downhill World Cup podium places ever (47).

After claiming the downhill crystal globe four times in a row from 2018 to 2021, the Swiss skier is chasing a fifth crown to equal the great Franz Klammer’s record mark.

Mayer, who finished ahead of third-placed Feuz and compatriot Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) on Lake Louise’s World Cup downhill slopes a year ago, could be the one to deny him. No one has a better recent record on the biggest stages of all than Austria’s 2014 downhill and 2018 and 2022 super-G Olympic champion.

Somewhat surprisingly Mayer has never won a crystal globe but, having also triumphed in Lake Louise three years ago, in the super-G, he looks well set to get his latest campaign off to another good start.

A repeat Austrian downhill one-two in Lake Louise remains a strong possibility too. The double 2021 speed world champion Kriechmayr may not have quite hit his very best form last season but he did claim three World Cup wins in early 2022 and is a threat every time he slips the long skis on.

While the same could not always be said of Marco Odermatt at the beginning of his career, the Swiss man is now an undeniable speed star. The reigning overall World Cup champion has finished top of the super-G podium four times during the past three years and had his eye on super-G standings winner Kilde right up until the latter stages of last season.

Winner of the only men’s 2023 World Cup race so far – October’s giant slalom in Sölden (AUT) – Odermatt has also shown real progress in the downhill. The 25-year-old finished second in four downhill World Cup races last season and a first win cannot be far away.

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