Sochi, Russian Federation (4E Sports) – Veteran campaigner Mario Matt of Austria became the oldest winner of an Olympic alpine skiing medal after dominating the slalom event of the Sochi Winter Olympics Saturday.
The 34-year-old two-time former world champion led after the first run and held on to beat countryman and favorite Marcel Hirscher by 0.28 seconds.
The previous oldest medalist was Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who was also 34 when he won super-G gold in Turin in 2006.
“I think most people can imagine it is the most impressive day of my career,” said Matt, who was 34th in the only other Olympic race he has completed in 2006. “I tried not to risk too much on the first part and I made it through to the finish.”
“You can tell yourself this is just a training run but when it works out like this it is incredible,” he added.
Sweden’s Henrik Kristoffersen, 19, became the youngest man to win an Olympic skiing medal when he took bronze, 0.83 seconds back.
Kristoffersen took the crown as youngest Olympic skiing medalist from Austrian Alfred Matt, who won bronze in the slalom in 1968.
The 24-year-old Hirscher was bidding to become only the fourth man to hold the Olympic slalom crown, the world title and the World Cup title at the same time.
However, it was Matt who rose to the challenge as he overcame two difficult runs under the floodlights above Rosa Khutor.
The Austrian, the 2001 and 2007 slalom world champion, clocked 46.7 seconds to lead Sweden’s Andre Myhrer by 0.45 seconds after run one, and he watched from the top as a host of the world’s best slalom skiers fell foul of a tough course.
When Myhrer, in silver medal position, crashed out at the same treacherous gate, Matt had a 1.28-second advantage over Hirscher and adopted a cautious approach past the tricky section before letting the skis run lower down.