BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - Having suffered disappointment in his specialist speed events where he was a red-hot favourite, Kjetil Jansrud was elated to exit the alpine ski world championships on Sunday with a surprise silver medal.
Jansrud posted the fastest time in the downhill portion of the men’s super combined, then produced a strong slalom run in the afternoon to clinch his first ever medal at the worlds, finishing 0.19 seconds behind Austrian Marcel Hirscher.
“It’s a great feeling to leave the world championships with a medal,” the 29-year-old Norwegian told reporters after storming down the twisting Birds of Prey course in 53.28 seconds in the second leg.
”Of course coming into these championships, everybody expected me to fight for the golds and maybe even grab one and that doesn’t happen.
“Winning a silver medal in a discipline where I was an outsider at best means a lot and it’s way better getting on an airplane back home with a medal than no medals.”
Jansrud had been a frustrated figure after finishing fourth in the Super-G, where he hit the first gate and injured his left shoulder, and then placing 15th in the blue riband downhill.
“After coming into the speed races as the favourite and not grabbing a medal, that was hard to deal with,” he said.
Though Jansrud finally produced his customary form on Sunday with a sizzling display in the morning downhill, he felt “a little queasy” before pushing out of the start hut for the afternoon slalom.
“I had a good downhill run and knew that I had almost three seconds on Ted (Ligety) and Marcel and they were probably going to be the two toughest guys, along with (Alexis) Pinturault,” he said.
“But it was going to be tight ... and I figured it (his lead) wasn’t enough. So grabbing a silver medal and actually skiing a decent slalom is not unexpected but kind of exciting.”
Jansrud had initially planned to compete in the giant slalom at Beaver Creek next week but he will instead head back to Europe to prepare for the rest of the World Cup where he lies second in the overall standings, behind Hirscher.
“I have some points to grab on Marcel in the overall ... hopefully that will be a good decision,” said the Norwegian, who was Olympic Super-G champion in Sochi last year.
Editing by Steve Keating.