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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Odermatt wins the Soldeu giant and sets the men’s points record in the World Cup

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Marco Odermatt, the new king of skiing, is now unstoppable and insatiable. In the gigantic final of Soldeu, he put the icing on the cake of a season that has only one flaw: it will not be easy for him to repeat it. The new gem is the record for points in one season for men: with the success in the snow in the state of Andorra, the Swiss champion reached 2042. 23 years later, he overtook the 2000 set by the Austrian Hermann “Herminator” Maier obtained… in 2000, as a sign of a curious coincidence between year and score. But that’s not all: the only twenty-five Odermatt – who in this unforgettable 2022/2023 won the second overall World Cup, the second giant “cup”, the first in super-G plus world gold in downhill and giant – equaled the record of season wins that belonged to Marcel Hirscher and Ingemar Stenmark in addition to Maier and eventually equaled the number of podium places (22) of the Herminator itself.

In short, a serial cannibal who feasted on his rivals, even in Soldeu, where, to please, he had won the super-G. The lesson taught between the wide doors is something memorable, not so much because of the huge throwbacks the rivals (Norwegian Kristoffersen, second, closed at 2”11; the Austrian Schwarz, third, at 2”29) in terms of attitude: having already won in the first moto, the king did not limit himself to giving advantage, but attacked as if he had to come back. What did he want to prove? That a champion is never satisfied and that winning big doesn’t mean humiliating your opponents, but rather it’s a way of honoring them. To raise the bar a bit higher, Marco can now set his sights on the absolute point record in the white circus. It belongs to a woman Tina Maze: the Slovenian champion in 2013 collected 2414 points, with 11 wins and 24 podiums. How can Odermatt hope to attack her? That said, this year he missed out on Schladming’s two giants as he suffered a minor injury on the descent at Kitz, the hunt for absolute primacy is ignoring further growth in free climbing: but as he is the reigning world champion there are margins .

In this royal context, Italy has also created its own space. Small, but telling: in a discipline that has been problematic for some time (apart from the 2021 Luca de Aliprandini), we ended the season with two « top ten »: Filippo Della Vite finished seventh with a second descent at full throttle and the aforementioned De Aliprandini was ninth after closing the initial moto in sixth. Della Vite, « millennial » of 2001, is by far the best Italian nut on the giant front: Bergamo’s first season at the World Cup it has evolved in the name of continuity, with placements always in the top 15 and more recently also in the top 10 and moving closer to the positions of excellence. “Pippo” almost seems to make a leap in quality: the next vintage could be the turning point for him.

Finally, the women’s slalom. The final race of the year saw the Slovak return to victory Petra Vlhova (in a disappointing year for her, she had only finished first in Flachau in January), ahead of Croatian Leona Popovic to the first podium of her career. Michaela Shiffrin this time he had to settle for third place: a narrow shoe for a dominatrix, even if it is true that lately he seems more on the ball in giant than between the fast gates. In any case, Mikaela made a serious mistake in the first moto (she finished fourth) and in the second the comeback was not substantial: the position won depended on the cross of the world champion, the Canadian Saint Germain. Mikaela will thus look to beat her absolute record of World Cup victories (87) in Sunday’s giant slalom; but this placing in the slalom still allowed her to match the number of podium finishes Lindsey Vonn (137): A champion of his level hardly closes empty-handed.

Source: Corriere

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