Jack Crawford is the world champion in the men’s super-G
James (Jack) Crawford has become just the third Canadian man to win a world title in alpine skiing, stunning almost everyone with his victory in the super-G on Thursday.
On the fast slopes in Courchevel, France, Crawford took the gold medal at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships by 0.01 of a second over Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. The Canadian clocked in at 1:07.22 on the nearly two kilometre course with a vertical drop of almost 600 metres. Frenchman Alexis Pinturault, who won the alpine combined on Tuesday, claimed the bronze medal, 0.26 of second back of Crawford.
Kilde had been considered one of the pre-race favourites, along with Marco Odermatt of Switzerland who finished fourth. The latter was coming off two straight World Cup super-G wins in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy to rank first in the circuit’s super-G standings, just ahead of Kilde.
“Honestly, I’m in disbelief,” said Crawford. “I skied my best today. I really just tried to have the same mindset from top to bottom. I didn’t feel like I fatigued or got out of the rhythm. At the bottom where it was a little more challenging and steep, I managed to bring the same intensity as to the top. It panned out.”
Crawford went into the worlds with just three World Cup podiums to his credit, as well as the historic Olympic bronze medal he won in the alpine combined at Beijing 2022. His World Cup success all came in 2022, when he won a super-G silver in March to go with a silver and a bronze in downhill races in December.
“Winning a race in general has been a dream of mine since I was young. For it to come in a world championships is amazing,” said the new 25-year-old world champion.
Wearing bib number 10, Crawford had followed Kilde out of the start gate. The Norwegian was quick to pay his respects to the man who just barely pushed him off the top step of the podium.
“It’s a classic example of this being a brutal but amazing sport,” said Kilde. “It’s small margins. You have a guy who has never won a race before, he comes in and delivers a gold. It’s brilliant.”
This is Crawford’s third appearance at the world championships. He finished fourth in the alpine combined in 2021.
The last Canadian man to win a world title in alpine skiing was Erik Guay, who took super-G gold in 2017 as he shared the podium with bronze medallist teammate Manuel Osborne-Paradis. Guay was also the world champion in the downhill in 2011. John Kucera –– now the head coach of Canada’s men’s speed team — won downhill gold in 2009 to be the first Canadian man with an alpine world title.
The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships continue in Courchevel and Meribel, France until February 19. The men’s downhill will take place on Sunday to finish off the speed events, after which the technical events (slalom and giant slalom) will take centre stage.