February 17, 2018 / 11:04 AM / 3 months ago

Olympics-Alpine skiing-What to look out for in the men's giant slalom

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb 17 (Reuters) - The men’s Alpine skiing at the Winter Olympics makes the switch from speed to technical events on Sunday with the men’s giant slalom at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre:

WHY “GIANT” SLALOM?

The gates are spaced at a greater distance to each other than in slalom but not as far apart as in the super-G, a later development.

The first giant slalom was held in Italy in 1935 and the event joined the Olympic programme in 1952 with the move to two runs coming at the 1968 Olympics.

While giant slalom lacks the raw speed of the downhill and super-G, the technique shown by the skiers as they carve their way down the slope can be breathtaking.

WHEN IS IT?

The first run is scheduled for 10.15 am local time on Sunday (0115 GMT, 8.15 pm ET Wednesday) with the second at 1.15 p.m.

The top 30 go out in reverse order for the second run to produce a provisional winner before the backrunners get their chance to enjoy the Olympic experience again. The skier with the best combined time over the two runs wins.

WHO IS THE FAVOURITE?

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher. The six-times World Cup overall winner, who took gold in the Alpine combined event on Tuesday, is the supreme technical skier of his generation.

Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault, who won bronze in 2014 and silver behind Hirscher in the combined on Tuesday, will be looking for an upset or to contest the minor medals.

American Ted Ligety is the defending champion and could claim a record sixth medal in the giant slalom at the world championships and Olympics combined.

WHICH COUNTRIES TRADITIONALLY DOMINATE?

Austria and Switzerland have both won four gold medals. Pinturault, nicknamed The Kid from Courchevel, could give France their third gold. Austria have won a total 18 medals in men’s giant slalom but failed to get on the podium in 2010 and 2014. (Compiled by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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