'It's a childhood dream': Canada's Jack Crawford wins super-G world title

Canada's Jack Crawford competes during the FIS Alpine World Championships men's super G on Wednesday in Courchevel Meribel, France. (Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images - image credit)
Canada's Jack Crawford competes during the FIS Alpine World Championships men's super G on Wednesday in Courchevel Meribel, France. (Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images - image credit)

Canadian skier Jack Crawford edged Aleksander Aamodt Kilde by one-hundredth of a second to win the gold medal in the men's super-G at the world championships on Thursday.

Alexis Pinturault finished 0.26 seconds behind to take bronze, two days after the Frenchman won the combined race at the worlds in his hometown of Courchevel Méribel.

Crawford was the next starter after Kilde, one of the pre-race favourites, had taken the lead in the race.

Crawford trailed the Norwegian halfway through his run but mastered the final section to win the race for Canada's 11th men's medal at world championships and fourth gold. The last Canadian winner was Erik Guay, who won super-G gold six years ago.

"I definitely wasn't expecting anything today," Crawford said. "It was consistency from top to bottom. I pushed out of the gate with a very clear mindset on where I wanted to be, what I wanted to ski."

The Moment | Canada's Jack Crawford shocks the world in men's super-G in France:

It was Crawford's second medal from major events after winning bronze in combined at last year's Beijing Olympics.

He led the combined event at the 2021 worlds with the fastest time in the super-G but dropped to fourth after the slalom. He also was fourth in the Olympic downhill a year ago.

"It's a childhood dream," Crawford said of his win on Thursday.

WATCH | Crawford skis to world championship gold:

It was being on school hockey team with Connor McDavid a decade ago that made Crawford realize he had to switch to full-time skiing.

The Edmonton Oilers captain and NHL all-star was so good, Crawford saw no other option.

"I don't doubt that I could have been a pretty good hockey player, but watching him kind of cruise around the ice is a similar way that I watch [Marco] Odermatt ski," Crawford said. "For some reason, he's just better than everybody else."

Crawford has yet to win a World Cup race but has three podium results, most recently at a downhill in Italy in December.

WATCH | Crawford tells CBC Sports about his win:

The silver was Kilde's first career medal at worlds. The Norwegian won super-G bronze and combined silver at the Olympics a year ago.

Marco Odermatt, who dominates the World Cup circuit as the defending overall champion, won four of the six super-G races this season but finished 0.37 seconds behind in fourth.

Odermatt is still waiting for his first medal at world championships, five years after the Swiss skier won five golds at the 2018 junior championships.

The course set was technically demanding with several difficult turns in the steep middle section, but also rather short with run times of just over one minute, seven seconds.

WATCH | Crawford calls winning super-G world championship ' a childhood dream':

Flat lights made it hard to see the bumps, but sunshine reached more parts of the L'Eclipse course as the race progressed.

Defending champion Vincent Kriechmayr finished more than eight tenths off the pace and outside the top 10. The Austrian, Odermatt and Kilde are the only skiers to win a super-G on the World Cup circuit in the past two years.

Matthias Mayer won the Olympic title last year but the Austrian retired in December. American racer Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the Olympic silver medallist, finished 1.52 off the lead.

Italian skier Dominik Paris had a nasty crash after skiing through a gate. He got up but was later limping in the finish area.

The Italians wore black armbands after the passing of Elena Fanchini, the skier who had her career cut short by a tumour and died Wednesday at the age of 37.

WATCH | Olympian Brian Stemmle gets emotional over Crawford's win: