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Matt becomes oldest Alpine skier to win gold in men's slalom

  • The Sports Network
  • Published Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, at 8:55 a.m.
  • Updated Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, at 7:49 p.m.

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Austria's Mario Matt became the oldest Alpine champion in Olympic history on Saturday when he captured the gold medal in the men's slalom at the Sochi Games.

Of course, 18-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest woman to win this event on Friday.

Matt, who will be 35 in April, led all skiers after the first run and was the last competitor with a medal chance to brave what proved to be a very difficult course at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center his second time through.

With his teammate and heavily favored Marcel Hirscher ahead of him, Matt flawlessly glided his way down to the finish with a total time of 1 minute, 41.84 seconds, .28 seconds ahead of his compatriot, who is the current World Cup leader and the 2013 world champion.

Before Matt, Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt had been the oldest Alpine skier to win gold. Aamodt was 34 years, 170 days when he captured the super-G at the 2006 Turin Games.

Norwegian teenager Henrik Kristoffersen claimed the bronze with a time of 1:42.67.

Although Matt is a two-time world champion, this was his first Olympic medal of any kind in what will likely be his final Winter Games.

American Ted Ligety, who gave the U.S. alpine skiing team its first gold in Sochi with his win in the giant slalom on Wednesday, was sixth after his first run, but stumbled his second time out and did not finish the run.

Fellow American Bode Miller was expected to compete against his countrymate in the slalom, but tweaked his surgically repaired left knee in Wednesday's giant slalom, leaving the 36-year-old six-time Olympic medalist unable to ski.

Team USA's Nolan Kasper did finish 13th, though.

The U.S. hasn't medaled in this event since the 1984 Sarajevo Games, when twin brothers Phillip and Steven Mahre won gold and silver, respectively.

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