Clement Noël Wins Beijing's Slalom
The 24-year-old Frenchman delivered a flawless performance at the second run and came out on top of the podium climbing up from the sixth position. Clement Noel beats leader of the first run Johannes Strolz by +0.61 seconds.
Noël has claimed nine World Cup wins in the slalom discipline. He started the season with a victory in Val d'Isère showing that he was the man to beat this year in Slalom, but a series of bad results take him off the list of favorites. Since the Opening Slalom, he has failed to finish better than 8th.
Noël finished second in the slalom standings in each of the last three World Cup seasons.
At the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Noel was 0.04 seconds from claiming a podium finish but ended up 4th behind Michael Matt.
Noël is the first French slalom Olympic champion since Jean-Pierre Vidal 20 years ago in Salt Lake City 2002.
"That was emotional. It's incredible. It was difficult, but my second run was very good. I was good in training and had a lot of self-confidence. I'm really very happy and I have no words", he said.
"I lost a little bit of confidence at the beginning of January and then I skied not so good in training also. I did some good runs in the world cup but I always made mistakes or had trouble in the second runs. It really means a lot to be in my best shape on the most important day of the season. I was quite surprised when I crossed the finish line when I saw the gap. I was a little bit tense at the start but I tried to ski relaxed, smooth, and don't ask myself too many questions, and just ski free. It paid off”, Noël added.
Johannes Strolz won his second medal at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. The combination Olympic champion was only beaten by Clement Noel in the slalom, after setting the best time in the first run.
The incredible comeback story of Johannes Strolz has amazed the skiing community this season. Strolz was let go from the Austrian Team due to a lack of good results, however, he continued to persevere towards his Olympic dream. Preparing his equipment for World Cup races all on his own, the Austrian went on to win his first World Cup race which was the slalom race in Adelboden, and claimed the gold medal in the Alpine Combined, and silver in the Slalom.
"Just a dream. I already had gold, so I couldn't lose much. I concentrated on my task, the silver medal is a dream”, said Strolz.
"The first run was very good, I found the limit. Some minor mistakes but all in all a very good run. I tried to be aggressive in the second run too, I really tried to go for it. I am so happy with it, especially with this slalom season, so many guys are skiing fast right now in slalom. To share the podium with Clement and Sebastian is amazing", he added.
Slalom World Champion in Cortina Sebastian Foss-Solevaag finished in third place +0.70 seconds behind Noël. Foss-Solevaag claims his first Olympic slalom podium and medal. The Norwegian has finished 9th in the 2014 Olympic slalom and 10th in 2018.
"It's s a huge relief and it's a huge goal but if you have a goal that doesn't mean you will reach it. I had a good chance in PyeongChang last Olympics and I didn't manage to do that. So to do it today was big. I have been thinking a lot since the slalom in PyeongChang", Foss-Solevaag said.