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Men's Downhill: A classic

11 February 2017: Tomorrow it's all about action in St. Moritz: The athletes burst into the "Free Fall presented by AUDI", the steepest start in the world. For both, athletes and spectators, this race is a highlight. Learn here who was the fist World Champion ever and which difficulties are waiting for the athletes on the slope.

(Alessandro della Bella)
(Alessandro della Bella)
(Alessandro della Bella)
(Alessandro della Bella)
(Alessandro della Bella)
(Alessandro della Bella)
(Alessandro della Bella)
(Alessandro della Bella)

The History: The simplest form of racing: Getting as fast as possible from the top to the bottom with as few directional changes as possible. The downhill is spectacular, rapid and dangerous. The racers are speeding down with more than 150km/h, which is why this discipline is considered the classic ski race. The Swiss racer Walter Prager was in the first World Championships of 1931 the first World Downhill Champion ahead of his fellow countrymen Otto Furrer and Fritz Steuri. The Downhill is the only Alpine discipline with a training run before the race. When no training is possible, no race is either.

The Requirements:
The difference in altitude between start and finish must be between 800 and 1100 metres, in St. Moritz it is 800 metres. The distance between the gates is not fixed.

The Ski:
It must be at least 213cm long, the width under the binding must be at least 6,5cm wide, in front of the binding a minimum of 9,5cm. The minimum radius must be 50 metres.

The Modus: There is only one run. The starting order is given accordingly to the current World-Cup start list. The first 10 can choose an odd number between 1 and 19, the racers with a place between 11 and 20 will be given an even number between 2 and 20. The athletes placed between 21 and 30 will get a number between 21 and 30.

The World Championship Course: The ’’Free Fall presented by AUDI’’ at the start with the extreme acceleration from 0 to 140km/h per hour in only six seconds presents a real challenge only the first time. The racers can really lean into the slope and gain speed, because this first section is very important for the next gliding section - it’s all about every single km/h. The following steep wall curve is a special challenge, since very different forces and pressure conditions have to be coped with and momentum must be taken. Following that come a series of curves with all different radii, attractive long jumps (up to 60m) - as in the Super G, the distance between the wall and the ramp is of decisive importance. Only a complete downhill racer will become the world champion.

The Title Holder: Patrick Küng was the only Swiss World Champion in Vail, he won ahead of Travis Ganong (USA) and his fellow countryman Beat Feuz. Küng was the 12th Swiss Downhill World Champion, the first since Bruno Kernen in 1997.

The Favorites: Five races this season, five winners (Jansrud, Paris, Franz, Ganong, Reichelt), as well as seven other racers on the remaining 10 podium places, three of which (Svindal, Nyman, Giraud and Moine) are injured and therefore not participating. Jansrud was once the first and once the second. Peter Fill was twice the second and once the third and Beat Feuz won the rehearsal at the World Championship Final 2016 ahead of Steve Nyman (USA) and Erik Guay (Canada) who is the new Super G World Champion.







 

 

 

 

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