PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Henrik Kristoffersen has had plenty of practice of losing to Marcel Hirscher in giant slalom races and doing so again at the Pyeonchang Olympics on Sunday in no way diminished his joy at winning a silver medal.
The 23-year-old Norwegian took second place for the fourth time this season behind Hirscher and conceded that was probably always going to be as good as it got given the Austrian’s current form.
“Some people say when you are second in the Olympics you don’t win the silver, you lose the gold, but today I won the silver,” the Norwegian told reporters.
“Marcel is at the moment unbeatable in GS (giant slalom). I’m for sure going to train as hard as I can and fight as much as I can to beat him one day but at the moment he’s just much better than anyone else.”
As in Sochi four years ago when he won a slalom bronze as a teenager, Kristoffersen had to fight his way back from a disappointing first run to get on the podium with a blistering second effort.
Kristoffersen was 10th after an opening run down the Yongpyong slope he described as “not good” and admitted he had been a little angry when he started his second run.
“I think for the first one and a half hours after the first run I was disappointed with myself,” he said.
“In the second run I ran a lot straighter and with a lot more aggression, I took a bit of a risk, I knew I had to take a chance to make it onto the podium.
“It was a great run.”
With the top 30 running in reverse order in the second run, Kristoffersen had to wait for nine of his rivals to come down the slope and hope they did not manage to overhaul his time.
None apart from Hirscher, who went last, were able to do so but the Norwegian did not enjoy the nerve-wracking experience.
“I’m making it hard for myself doing stupid stuff in the first run,” he said. “It’s not how I want to do it, that’s for sure, but sometimes that’s life.”
Kristoffersen trails Hirscher in the slalom World Cup standings as well this year and faces another tough task in Thursday’s Olympic race.
He has enjoyed success against Hirscher in the slalom in the past, however, and said he was not yet sick of losing to the Austrian.
“No, not really, he’s like the second greatest skier of all time so not really,” he said. “I have 15 slalom wins in the World Cup and 12 of those he’s been second. I would guess that he’s a little bit sick of being beaten by me as well.”
Editing by John O'Brien