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Swiss Carlo Janka victorious in giant slalom

Carlo Janka

Swiss Janka wins giant slalom gold

World champion Carlo Janka survived a nervy second run to win Switzerland's first giant slalom gold for 26 years.

Norway's Kjetil Jansrud took a surprise silver while compatriot Aksel Lund Svindal added bronze to his downhill silver and gold from the super-G.

Janka was fastest on the first run in one minute 17.27 seconds but lost 0.41 sec to Jansrud in the second leg, cutting his winning margin to 0.39 sec.

American Bode Miller slipped on the first run and failed to finish.

The error saw him miss out on a chance to become the first man to win four Alpine medals at one Winter Games.

I made no big mistakes from top to finish and that was key

Carlo Janka

"I'm taking more risks than everyone else. That's partly why I'm able to get medals. It looks easy when you make it," he said.

Janka said of the course: "It was perfect for me, the snow was hard but not icy, good grip, perfect conditions.

"You must always take a lot of risks. I made no big mistakes from top to finish and that was key."

Jansrud, who finished 31st in the downhill and 12th in the super-G, put in am impressive second run to take the lead, after he was just 11th fastest first time out.

He admitted he had been resigned to being knocked off the podium. The wait "wasn't that exciting as I thought it would be because I thought more would come in ahead of me.

"When Aksel came down and was losing time, my heart started racing".

Svindal, whose additional bronze now matches Miller's achievement, added: "In the giant slalom I was hoping I wasn't going to get fourth.

"I knew Kjetil skied extremely well, so I wasn't surprised to see him ahead of me We're a close team, with small resources, it's going to get even better."

There's a healthy competition between the British skiers - we're friends, we cheer each other on and we're proud of each other

Andy Noble

Andy Noble, 25, from Edinburgh, was the highest placed British finisher, coming in 36th, 7.02 seconds off the winning time on his Olympic debut

Compatriot Ed Drake was 37th in his third and final event of the Games while Dave Ryding, who will join Noble in Saturday's slalom, was 47th.

"Conditions were a bit tougher for the second run. I was just happy to be in the finish and to have skied reasonably," said Noble.

"There's a healthy competition between the British skiers - we're friends, we cheer each other on and we're proud of each other."

The event had 103 starters from 61 nations - some of them snowless countries making their Winter Olympics debuts.

Among them were 16-year-old Peruvian Manfred Oettl Reyes, wearing a llama patterned ski suit, Morocco's "Couscous Rocket" Samir Azzimani and 51-year-old Mexican Hubertus von Hohenlohe.

A Liechtenstein-based pop singer and businessman, Von Hohenlohe was the last down the piste in his fifth Olympics - and first since 1994 - 17.23 seconds behind the leader.

"When you are older you take it in more. It is more intense and you can savour the moment more," he said with a grin.

Pakistan's Muhammad Abbas became the first athlete from his country to compete at a Winter Games, gingerly negotiating the twists and turns to cross the line 21 seconds in arrears.

Andrew Noble

GB men battle in giant slalom



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see also
Miller secures first Olympic gold
21 Feb 10 |  Alpine skiing
Super-G gold for Norway's Svindal
19 Feb 10 |  Alpine skiing
Defago powers to downhill glory
15 Feb 10 |  Alpine skiing
Winter Olympics weather
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010


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