Jack Crawford earns 1st World Cup downhill medal, placing 3rd at Beaver Creek

Jack Crawford earns 1st World Cup downhill medal, placing 3rd at Beaver Creek

At 25, Toronto's Jack Crawford has picked up his first downhill medal on the World Cup circuit, finishing third on Saturday in Beaver Creek, Colo., while Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway won a second straight race to start the season.

Norway's Kilde wins 2nd consecutive race after prevailing in Lake Louise, Alta.

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway won a second straight men's downhill to start the World Cup season, and Canada's Jack Crawford was third Saturday in Colorado.

The 25-year-old Crawford reached the World Cup podium in downhill for the first time in his career, posting a time of one minute 42.88 seconds for third, 0.79 behind Kilde and 1-100th ahead of fourth-place Matthias Mayer of Austria at Beaver Creek Resort.

"Super exciting to have grabbed a podium so early in the season," Crawford told reporters after his fifth top-10 finish in his past six World Cup races. "Today was a hard day with the snow and the wind, and I'm happy to be able to hold on to third.

"I definitely have some work to do to catch the two top guys, but this is a huge milestone for me and I'm hoping to take a lot of confidence forward into this season."

Olympic bronze medallist Jack Crawford of Toronto placed third at the World Cup men's downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo.

Crawford entered his 32nd World Cup start looking to build on a pair of top-10 finishes in downhill from last season.

Four other Canadians competed in Saturday's race, led by Jeff Read of Canmore, Alta., who was 44th of 61 finishers (1:45.13). He was followed by Brodie Seger of North Vancouver, B.C. (46th, 1:45.24), Broderick Thompson of Whistler, B.C. (52nd, 1:45.57) and Vancouver's Sam Mulligan (59th, 1:47.88).

"Great result for the team," said Canada's men's speed coach John Kucera. "Results like this bring confidence to Jack and it also brings confidence to other athletes and the staff.

"We have the speed to be competitive with the rest of the world. And on any given day, any of the athletes can stand on the podium."

Kilde, who dealt with an illness all week in training, powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course in 1:42.09 ahead of runner-up Marco Odermatt of Switzerland (1:42.15).

"It's been a tough week," Kilde said after the race. "I caught the flu in Lake Louise [Alta.] after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system."

Kilde opened defence of his World Cup downhill title by taking the season-opener a week ago in Lake Louise, Alta.

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was cancelled due to high wind and snowfall.

Kilde reached speeds around 121 kilometres per hour in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

"I found a really, really good setup with my equipment and also with my skiing," Kilde explained. "I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don't dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it's going to be fast."

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He's also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Switzerland's Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal in Beijing last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race at 12 p.m. ET. Odermatt will be the favourite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

The Norwegian racer clocked in at 1:47.98 to place 1st in the men's downhill competition at the FIS Alpine World Cup stop in Lake Louise, Alta.

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