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Canadian Dark Horse Races From the Back of the Pack to Claim First World Cup Victory

Racing with bib 39, Cameron Alexander charged to Canada's first World Cup downhill victory since 2014.

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Ski racing is a game of precision. After three days of picture-perfect downhill and super-G racing at the site of the 1994 Olympics in Kvitfjell, Norway, that concept was on full display. Kvitfjell’s Olympiabakken track proved to be a challenge, but skiers enjoyed a fair race with hard, fast snow and opportunities to turn in a solid result no matter where you were on the start list.

That was highlighted by 24-year-old Canadian Cameron Alexander, who charged from bib 39 to tie for the win—his first on the Word Cup—with Swiss Niels Hintermann on the first day of downhill racing on Friday. It was also Canada’s first downhill win since Erik Guay also won in Kvitfjell in 2014.

“Usually, I want to be the only one on the top of the podium, but today I’m not complaining, not complaining at all,” said the Vancouver native.

Watch: Cameron Alexander scores his first World Cup podium in Kvitfjell

Alexander raced in a Europa Cup series in Kvitfjell in February, taking a downhill win in the process. Prior knowledge of the slope can prove to be a crucial component to success in an event like downhill, and Alexander took full advantage on Friday.

“I just tried to give it everything I had,” he said. “I know I’ve got speed here and all I had to do was just try and let go and feel loose with it.”

Canadian Cameron Alexander Kvitfjell, Norway
Canada’s Cameron Alexander reacts after clocking the fastest time along Switzerland’s Niels Hintermann to share his first World Cup downhill victory in Kvitfjell, Norway on March 4, 2022. (Photo: Erik Johansen / NTB / AFP) / Norway OUT (Photo by ERIK JOHANSEN/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

Alexander and Hintermann were joined on the podium by reigning Olympic super-G champion, Austria’s Matthias Mayer, in third.

American and Olympic super-G silver medalist Ryan Cochran-Siegle led the Americans in all three races, finishing 11th and fifth in the two downhills on Friday and Saturday, and 11th again in Sunday’s super-G.

“It was motivating to see the guys in the back ski so fast yesterday in fair conditions,” the Vermonter said of Alexander’s performance on Saturday. “Today I brought just a little bit more intensity with my skiing, aggressive touch on my skis, and fighting for aerodynamics, and it ended up being a solid day.”

Saturday’s winner, Italy’s Dominik Paris, also credited minor changes to his skiing for his success on day two. The Italian dominated the second race, finishing 0.55 seconds ahead of Norwegian favorite Aleksander Aamodt Kilde in second.

Related: The winning philosophy that made the Attacking Vikings a force to be reckoned with

“I tried to be more smooth on the skis and it was a really perfect run,” he said.

Hintermann tied for a podium once again on Saturday, this time in third with reigning Olympic downhill gold medalist and fellow Swiss Beat Feuz.

Racing wrapped up on Sunday with the super-G and Norwegian fans were treated to a home win with Kilde delivering the victory. It was Kilde’s first World Cup win in Norway and a special day in his already storied career.

Norway's Kjetil Jansrud retires at Kvitfjell World Cup in Norway
Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud (Up) celebrates his final race and retirement as he is carried by team mates Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (L) and Rasmus Windingstad. Jansrud chose the World Cup in Kvitfjell, Norway, to be his final race of his alpine ski racing career. (Photo: Erik Johansen / NTB / AFP) / Norway OUT (Photo by ERIK JOHANSEN/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s a dream come true, to be honest,” Kilde said. “I’ve been here many times and have a couple of second places and some fourth places and close calls. Today was my day. Crossing the finish line with the home crowd cheering for you, that couldn’t be better.”

Kilde finished just 0.07 seconds ahead of another Canadian, James Crawford, in second with Mayer grabbing his second podium of the weekend in third.

Watch: Kilde clinches 2022 World Cup super-G title

Kilde also secured the 20202 super-G World Cup title with his win and is locked in a tight race for the downhill title with Feuz. Only 23 points separate the two and one race remains on the calendar – World Cup Finals later in March.

This weekend in Kvitfjell was also where Norwegian legend Kjetil Jansrud chose to retire.An Olympic and World Cup champion, Jansrud won seven times in Kvitfjell throughout his career. Plagued by injury this season, the 36-year-old made the decision to step away from the sport on home snow.

“I am very glad I get to choose to retire in Kvitfjell, where I won my first [World Cup] in 2012 and where I’ve raced in front of family and friends every year since,” he shared on Instagram. “I practically grew up in this area and I wish I could express the gratitude I feel.”

To see complete results from this weekend’s racing in Kvitfjell, click here.