As a bonus for a sold out and overflowing crowd, Austria went 1- 2-3, its only sweep of the season with
Hirscher, Reichelt second, and 20-year-old Marcel Mathis in third. It was a good day for the locals.
The final men’s race was slalom, an event that Hirscher had all but reinvented during the season.
His close-to-the-gates attack had come under microscopically-close scrutiny during the season when
slow motion cameras unveiled that he sometimes passed a piece of ski on the wrong side of the poles.
The “Straddlegate” controversy had come to a head at Kitzbuehel with a full-blown media onslaught.
Officially, he won five slaloms and was either DQ’d or skied out after a straddle in five. He was all or
nothing, and that was not about to change at Schladming, even with the overall and GS titles already
Hirscher skied out in the first run. And so did Kostelic, though he popped up as quickly as his weakened knee allowed and continued to get a finish and a second run.
In the slalom background all season lingered Andre Myhrer. With one slalom DNF for his winter and
the rest all top 10’s, his confidence had been growing. Since the first trip to Schladming this season, for
the rowdy night slalom on Jan. 24, the men’s tour had just two slaloms until the finale: one at Bansko
where Myhrer finished second; and one at Kranjska Gora, where he won. He was third in the standings with only a slender mathematical chance to overtake the leaders. That chance grew larger after
the first run with Hirscher out of the running and Kostelic all but finished.
“I tried not to get affected by what the other guys were doing,” the Swede said, “especially between
runs after things developed as they did; I tried not to think at all.”
Myhrer skied his race, rode the ruts of the sun-soaked course to victory and joined Stig Strand, To-
mas Fogdoe and the legend-
ary Ingemar Stenmark as the
only Swedish male winners of
a World Cup slalom title.
It was a fitting end to a whirl-
wind season. The oldest winner
ever, Cuche, added four wins
including the history-defying
Kitzbuehel win. Longtime stars
Svindal (super G) and Kostelic
(combined) won titles, but first-
time winners were crowned in
GS and slalom and the biggest
prize of the season, overall.
How’s that for a birthday pres-
ent for Marcel Hirscher? Cuche waves goodbye.
The Swiss torch was passed from Cuche to Beat Feuz.
Hirscher with the biggest prize,
the crystal globe.
Shown at Kvitfjell,
Klaus Kroell flew to
the downhill crown.