Austria’s Johannes Strolz wins the Alpine combined gold medal

Feb. 10 (UPI) — Johannes Strolz of Austria won the Alpine combine gold medal in Beijing on Thursday, making it a family tradition.

The 29-year-old won the medal 34 years after his father, Hubert Strolz, did during the 1988 Games in Calgary, Canada.

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The younger Strolz won his gold in his first Olympics appearance on the speed of his blistering slalom that saw him finish with a time of 47.56 seconds, about a half a second faster than the next man, Barnabas Szollos of Israel.

Combined with his downhill score of 1 minute 43.87 seconds, Strolz raced 2 minutes 31.43 seconds, about a half second faster than Aamodt Aleksander Kilde of Norway who went into Thursday as one of the event’s favorites.

Strolz told the media after the race that winning the gold “means the world” to him as last summer he wasn’t on the Olympic team and had to fight his way into a spot.

“Especially with the history of my father, it means so much to me,” he said, adding, “When I think about it, all the pictures and the gold medal of my father, it’s hard for me not to cry.”

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“It’s a dream coming true,” he said.

With his second-place finish, Kilde now adds a silver medal to the bronze he won Tuesday in the men’s super-G event.

Following the race, U.S. Alpine skier Micaela Shiffrin congratulated her boyfriend, Kilde, on the win.

“Literally hasn’t skied a run of slalom in years and then what and DID THAT,” she tweeted. “What an athlete!!!”

Taking the final spot on the Alpine combine podium Thursday was Canada’s Jack Crawford whose 2 minutes 32.11 seconds was a tenth of a second behind Kilde. Crawford was sitting second going into the slalom for which he achieved a slightly disappointing seventh place finish.

From left to right, Colby Stevenson of the USA, Birk Ruud of Norway and Henrik Harlaut of Sweden celebrate victory in the freestyle skiing men’s freeski big air final at the Shougang venue of the Beijing Winter Olympics on February 9. Stevenson won silver, Ruud the gold and Harlaut the bronze. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | License Photo

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