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Slovenia's Andrej Šporn at the 2010 Winter Olympics downhill in a typical downhill body position

Downhill is a form of alpine skiing competition. Whereas the other alpine skiing events (slalom, giant slalom, super giant slalom, and combined) emphasize turning and technique, downhill emphasizes "the six components of technique, courage, speed, risk, physical condition and judgement", according to the FIS "International Ski Competition Rules (ICR)".[1] Speeds of up to 130 km/h (81 mph) are common in international competition. Athletes must have an aerodynamically efficient tuck position to minimize drag and increase speed.[2]

The term, "downhill skiing", is also used as a synonym for alpine skiing as a recreational activity.[3][4]

Contents

HistoryEdit

The rules for downhill skiing competitions were originally developed by Sir Arnold Lunn for the 1921 British National Ski Championships. A speed of 100 miles per hour (161 km/h) was first achieved by Johan Clarey at the 2013 Lauberhorn World Cup,[5] beating the previous record of 98 mph (158 km/h), set by Italian Stefan Thanei in 2005.[6][7]

CourseEdit

The FIS has rules for downhill courses that encompass their general characteristics, width, safety precautions, vertical drop, course length, style and placement of gates.[1]

  • General characteristics – As a test of "technique, courage, speed, risk, physical condition and judgement", the course requires the athlete to adapt to the technically demanding terrain and layout of gates.
  • Width – Courses are typically 30 metres (100 ft) wide with allowances for the approaches to "lips, drop-offs and jumps".
  • Safety – Obstacles on courses are expected to be protected with nets, fences, or pads.
  • Vertical drop – Vertical drop ranges from 450 to 1,100 metres (1,480 to 3,610 ft) for men and 450 to 800 metres (1,480 to 2,620 ft) for women. Races with two runs may be shorter.
  • Course length – Courses require an accurate means of measurement for length.
  • Gates – Gates consist of pairs of twin poles with a rectangular panel between the poles. Gates have an 8-metre (26 ft) or larger opening.

EquipmentEdit

 
Austrian Downhill racing suit

Equipment for the downhill is different from the alpine events that are lower-speed. Skis are 30% longer than those used in slalom, for more stability at high speed. They usually have rounded, low-profile tips rather than pointed tips. Ski poles are bent so as to curve around the body as the racer stays in a "tuck position" and may have aerodynamic, cone-shaped baskets. As in other alpine disciplines, downhill racers wear skin-tight suits to minimize drag, and helmets are mandatory.

In an attempt to increase safety, the 2003–2004 season saw the FIS increase the minimum sidecut radius for downhill skis to 45 metres (148 ft) from 40 metres (131 ft), and impose minimum ski lengths for the first time: 218 cm (7 ft 2 in) for men, and 210 cm (6 ft 11 in) for women.

RacesEdit

In all forms of downhill, both at a local youth-level as well as the higher FIS international level, racers are allowed extensive preparation for the race, which includes daily course inspection and discussion with their coaches and teammates as well as several practice runs before the actual race. Racers do not make any unnecessary turns while on the course, and try to do everything they can to maintain the most aerodynamic position while negotiating turns and jumps.

Unlike slalom and giant slalom, where racers have the times of two runs combined, the downhill race is a single run. Times are typically between 1½ and 2½ minutes for World Cup courses and must be over 1 minute in duration to meet international minimum standards. Tenths and hundredths and, occasionally, thousandths of seconds count: World Cup races and Olympic medals have sometimes been decided by as little as one or two hundredths of a second, and ties are not unheard of.

The most successful all-time winners of World Cup downhill races are Annemarie Moser-Pröll of Austria (36 wins, 7 women's titles)[8] and Franz Klammer of Austria (25 wins, 5 men's titles).[9] Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. is currently dominant in woman's downhill racing with a lifetime total of 37 World Cup downhill wins and 7 women's titles.[10][11]

RisksEdit

On some courses, such as the Lauberhorn course in Wengen, Switzerland, and the Hahnenkamm course in Kitzbühel, Austria, speeds of up to 150 km/h (93 mph) are common. Safety netting and padding are placed where race officials anticipate potential crashes. Despite these safety precautions, the ski racing community is well aware of the inherent risks of downhill skiing, for it is possible for racers to suffer serious injury or death while practising or competing. Three deaths among World Cup racers in recent years in downhill training or during a race were those of Austrians Gernot Reinstadler (1991) and Ulrike Maier (1994), and France's Régine Cavagnoud (2001). Also in 2001, Swiss downhiller Silvano Beltrametti was paralyzed in a high-speed crash and 1984 Olympic gold medalist Bill Johnson suffered permanent brain damage that eventually led to a crippling stroke which left him unable to function without assistance. Most recently Frenchman David Poisson was killed in a training crash in 2017. Speaking to media after Poisson's death, French former downhiller Luc Alphand noted that "eliminating risk entirely in downhill is impossible".[12]

Men's World Cup podiumsEdit

In the following table men's downhill World Cup podium results in the World Cup since the first season in 1967.[7] Winners receive a distinctive crystal globe.[13]

Season 1st 2nd 3rd
1967   Jean-Claude Killy   Guy Périllat   Franz Vogler
1968   Gerhard Nenning   Jean-Claude Killy   Karl Schranz
1969   Karl Schranz   Henri Duvillard   Heinrich Messner
1970   Karl Cordin   Karl Schranz   Henri Duvillard
1971   Bernhard Russi   Bernard Orcel   Karl Cordin
1972   Bernhard Russi   Karl Schranz   Mike Lafferty
1973   Roland Collombin   Bernhard Russi   Marcello Varallo
1974   Roland Collombin   Franz Klammer   Herbert Plank
1975   Franz Klammer   Werner Grissmann   Herbert Plank
1976   Franz Klammer   Herbert Plank   Bernhard Russi
1977   Franz Klammer   Josef Walcher   Bernhard Russi
1978   Franz Klammer   Josef Walcher   Herbert Plank
1979   Peter Mueller   Peter Wirnsberger   Toni Buergler
1980   Peter Mueller   Ken Read   Herbert Plank
1981   Harti Weirather   Steve Podborski   Peter Mueller
1982   Peter Mueller   Steve Podborski   Harti Weirather
1983   Franz Klammer   Conradin Cathomen   Harti Weirather
1984   Urs Raeber   Erwin Resch   Bill Johnson
1985   Helmut Hoeflehner   Peter Mueller   Karl Alpiger
1986   Peter Wirnsberger   Peter Mueller   Michael Mair
1987   Pirmin Zurbriggen   Peter Mueller   Franz Heinzer
1988   Pirmin Zurbriggen   Michael Mair   Rob Boyd
1989   Marc Girardelli   Helmut Hoeflehner   Daniel Mahrer
1990   Helmut Hoeflehner   Atle Skardal   Pirmin Zurbriggen
1991   Franz Heinzer   Atle Skardal   Daniel Mahrer
1992   Franz Heinzer   Daniel Mahrer   A.J. Kitt
1993   Franz Heinzer   Atle Skardal   William Besse
1994   Marc Girardelli   Hannes Trinkl   Patrick Ortlieb
1995   Luc Alphand   Kristian Ghedina   Patrick Ortlieb
1996   Luc Alphand   Guenther Mader   Patrick Ortlieb
1997   Luc Alphand   Kristian Ghedina   Fritz Strobl
1998   Andreas Schifferer   Hermann Maier   Nicolas Burtin
1999   Lasse Kjus   Andreas Schifferer   Werner Franz
2000   Hermann Maier   Kristian Ghedina   Josef Strobl
2001   Hermann Maier   Stephan Eberharter   Fritz Strobl
2002   Stephan Eberharter   Fritz Strobl   Kristian Ghedina
2003   Stephan Eberharter   Daron Rahlves   Michael Walchhofer
2004   Stephan Eberharter   Daron Rahlves   Hermann Maier
2005   Michael Walchhofer   Bode Miller   Hermann Maier
2006   Michael Walchhofer   Fritz Strobl   Daron Rahlves
2007   Didier Cuche   Marco Buechel   Erik Guay
2008   Didier Cuche   Bode Miller   Michael Walchhofer
2009   Michael Walchhofer   Klaus Kroell   Didier Defago
2010   Didier Cuche   Carlo Janka   Werner Heel
2011   Didier Cuche   Michael Walchhofer   Klaus Kroell
2012   Klaus Kroell   Beat Feuz   Didier Cuche
2013   Aksel Lund Svindal   Klaus Kroell   Dominik Paris
2014   Aksel Lund Svindal   Hannes Reichelt   Erik Guay
2015   Kjetil Jansrud   Hannes Reichelt   Guillermo Fayed
2016   Peter Fill   Aksel Lund Svindal   Dominik Paris
2017   Peter Fill   Kjetil Jansrud   Dominik Paris

Downhill at the "big competitions"Edit

Medal tableEdit

Country Gold Silver Bronze All Host nation
  Austria 27 12 26 65 7 (2 x WOG, 5 x WCH)
  Switzerland 17 21 12 48 4 (4 x WCH)
  France 8 9 6 21 3 (2 x WOG, 1 x WCH)
  United States 7 9 10 26 6 (3 x WOG, 3 x WCH)
  Germany (+West Germany, United Team of Germany) 6 4 7 16 2 (2 x WCH)
  /   Canada 7 4 5 16 2 (2 x WOG)
  Norway 4 12 2 18 1 (1 x WOG)
  Slovenia 4 0 0 4 0
  Italy 1 8 6 15 6 (2 x WOG, 4 x WCH)
  Sweden 1 1 3 5 2 (2 x WCH)
  Croatia 1 0 0 1 0
  Liechtenstein 0 1 1 2 0
  Australia 0 0 1 1 0
  Czechoslovakia 0 0 1 1 0
  USSR 0 0 1 1 0

MedalistsEdit

Year Competition Venue Champions 2nd Place 3rd Place
2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Åre   Kjetil Jansrud   Ilka Štuhec   Aksel Lund Svindal   Corinne Suter   Vincent Kriechmayr   Lindsey Vonn
2018 Winter Olympic Games   Pyeongchang   Aksel Lund Svindal   Sofia Goggia   Kjetil Jansrud   Ragnhild Mowinckel   Beat Feuz   Lindsey Vonn
2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   St. Moritz   Beat Feuz   Ilka Štuhec   Erik Guay   Stephanie Venier   Max Franz   Lindsey Vonn
2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Beaver Creek and Vail   Patrick Küng   Tina Maze   Travis Ganong   Anna Fenninger   Beat Feuz   Lara Gut
2014 Winter Olympic Games   Sochi   Matthias Mayer   Tina Maze   Christof Innerhofer not awarded   Kjetil Jansrud   Lara Gut
  Dominique Gisin
2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Schladming   Aksel Lund Svindal   Marion Rolland   Dominik Paris   Nadia Fanchini   David Poisson   Maria Höfl-Riesch
2011 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Garmisch-Partenkirchen   Erik Guay   Elisabeth Görgl   Didier Cuche   Lindsey Vonn   Christof Innerhofer   Maria Riesch
2010 Winter Olympic Games   Vancouver   Didier Defago   Lindsey Vonn   Aksel Lund Svindal   Julia Mancuso   Bode Miller   Elisabeth Görgl
2009 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Val d'Isere   John Kucera   Lindsey Vonn   Didier Cuche   Lara Gut   Carlo Janka   Nadia Fanchini
2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Åre   Aksel Lund Svindal   Anja Pärson   Jan Hudec   Lindsey C. Kildow   Patrik Järbyn   Nicole Hosp
2006 Winter Olympic Games   Torino   Antoine Dénériaz   Michaela Dorfmeister   Michael Walchhofer   Martina Schild   Bruno Kernen   Anja Pärson
2005 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Bormio   Bode Miller   Janica Kostelić   Daron Rahlves   Elena Fanchini   Michael Walchhofer   Renate Götschl
2003 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   St. Moritz   Michael Walchhofer   Mélanie Turgeon   Kjetil André Aamodt   Corinne Rey-Bellet   Bruno Kernen   Alexandra Meissnitzer
2002 Winter Olympic Games   Salt Lake City   Fritz Strobl   Carole Montillet   Lasse Kjus   Isolde Kostner   Stephan Eberharter   Renate Götschl
2001 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   St. Anton   Hannes Trinkl   Michaela Dorfmeister   Hermann Maier   Renate Götschl   Florian Eckert   Selina Heregger
1999 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Beaver Creek and Vail   Hermann Maier   Renate Götschl   Lasse Kjus   Michaela Dorfmeister   Kjetil André Aamodt   Stefanie Schuster
1998 Winter Olympic Games   Nagano   Jean-Luc Crétier   Katja Seizinger   Lasse Kjus   Pernilla Wiberg   Hannes Trinkl   Florence Masnada
1997 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Sestriere   Bruno Kernen   Hilary Lindh   Lasse Kjus   Heidi Zurbriggen   Kristian Ghedina   Pernilla Wiberg
1996 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Seirra Nevada   Patrick Ortlieb   Picabo Street   Kristian Ghedina   Katja Seizinger   Luc Alphand   Hilary Lindh
1994 Winter Olympic Games   Lillehammer   Tommy Moe   Katja Seizinger   Kjetil André Aamodt   Picabo Street   Ed Podivinsky   Isolde Kostner
1993 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Morioka   Urs Lehmann   Kate Pace   Atle Skårdal   Astrid Lødemel   A.J. Kitt   Anja Haas
1992 Winter Olympic Games   Albertville   Patrick Ortlieb   Kerrin Lee-Gartner   Franck Piccard   Hilary Lindh   Günther Mader   Veronika Wallinger
1991 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Saalbach-Hinterglemm   Franz Heinzer   Petra Kronberger   Peter Runggaldier   Nathalie Bouvier   Daniel Mahrer   Svetlana Gladisheva
1989 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Vail   Hans-Jörg Tauscher   Maria Walliser   Peter Müller   Karen Percy   Karl Alpiger   Karin Dedler
1988 Winter Olympic Games   Calgary   Pirmin Zurbriggen   Marina Kiehl   Peter Müller   Brigitte Oertli   Franck Piccard   Karen Percy
1987 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Crans-Montana   Peter Müller   Maria Walliser   Pirmin Zurbriggen   Michela Figini   Karl Alpiger   Regine Mösenlechner
1985 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Bormio   Pirmin Zurbriggen   Michela Figini   Peter Müller   Ariane Ehrat   Doug Lewis   Katharina Gutensohn
1984 Winter Olympic Games   Sarajevo   Bill Johnson   Michela Figini   Peter Müller   Maria Walliser   Anton Steiner   Olga Charvátová
1982 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Schladming   Harti Weirather   Gerry Sorensen   Conradin Cathomen   Cindy Nelson   Erwin Resch   Laurie Graham
1980 Winter Olympic Games *   Lake Placid   Leonhard Stock   Annemarie Moser-Pröll   Peter Wirnsberger   Hanni Wenzel   Steve Podborski   Marie-Theres Nadig
1978 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Garmisch-Partenkirchen   Josef Walcher   Annemarie Moser-Pröll   Michael Veith   Irene Epple   Werner Grissmann   Doris de Agostini
1976 Winter Olympic Games *   Innsbruck   Franz Klammer   Rosi Mittermaier   Bernhard Russi   Brigitte Totschnig   Herbert Plank   Cindy Nelson
1974 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   St. Moritz   David Zwilling   Annemarie Pröll   Franz Klammer   Betsy Clifford   Willi Frommelt   Wiltrud Drexel
1972 Winter Olympic Games *   Sapporo   Bernhard Russi   Marie-Theres Nadig   Roland Collombin   Annemarie Pröll   Heini Messner   Susan Corrock
1970 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Val Gardena   Bernhard Russi   Annerösli Zryd   Karl Cordin   Isabelle Mir   Malcolm Milne   Annemarie Pröll
1968 Winter Olympic Games *   Grenoble   Jean-Claude Killy   Olga Pall   Guy Périllat   Isabelle Mir   Jean-Daniel Dätwyler   Christl Haas
1966 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Portillo   Jean-Claude Killy   Marielle Goitschel   Léo Lacroix   Annie Famose   Franz Vogler   Burgl Färbinger
1964 Winter Olympic Games *   Innsbruck   Egon Zimmermann   Christl Haas   Léo Lacroix   Edith Zimmermann   Wolfgang Bartels   Traudl Hecher
1962 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Chamonix   Karl Schranz   Christl Haas   Émile Viollat   Pia Riva   Egon Zimmermann   Barbara Ferries
1960 Winter Olympic Games *   Squaw Valley   Jean Vuarnet   Heidi Biebl   Hans Peter Lanig   Penny Pitou   Guy Périllat   Traudl Hecher
1958 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships   Bad Gastein   Toni Sailer   Lucile Wheeler   Roger Staub   Frieda Dänzer   Jean Vuarnet   Carla Marchelli
1956 Winter Olympic Games *   Cortina d'Ampezzo   Toni Sailer   Madeleine Berthod   Raymond Fellay   Frieda Dänzer   Anderl Molterer   Lucile Wheeler

(*) - also served as WCH (GS and Combined were competed as well but did not count four WOG)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b 50th International Ski Congress (July 2016), The International Ski Competition Rules (ICR) (PDF), Cancun: Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS), p. 83.
  2. ^ First Tracks!! Online Ski Magazine (October 11, 2011). Canadian Ski Racers Train in Wind Tunnel.
  3. ^ Editors (2017). "Cambridge Dictionary". Cambridge.org. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2017-02-16. skiing down slopes, rather than along level ground
  4. ^ Editors (2017). "Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Retrieved 2017-02-16. a: the sport of skiing on downhill trails—often used attributively. b: a skiing race against time down a trail
  5. ^ "French skier sets speed record of 100 mph in downhill". USA Today. Associated Press. January 19, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "Wengen Downhill World Cup Race - Lauberhorn - SnowKings". www.snowkings.co.uk.
  7. ^ a b "Downhill - Top ten racers since 1967". prussianmachine.com. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  8. ^ International Ski Federation (FIS). Biography: Annemarie Moser-Pröll. FIS Legends. Retrieved on: 2011-12-27.
  9. ^ International Ski Federation (FIS). Biography: Franz Klammer. FIS Legends. Retrieved on: 2011-12-27.
  10. ^ International Ski Federation (FIS). Biography: Lindsey Vonn. FIS Legends. Retrieved on: 2011-12-27.
  11. ^ The Australian (December 05, 2011). Lindsey Vonn wins 23rd World Cup downhill in Canada. Retrieved on: 2011-12-27.
  12. ^ "French downhill skier David Poisson dies after training crash at Nakiska". CBC.ca. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  13. ^ International Ski Foundation. "FIS World Cup Trophy" (PDF). www.fis-ski.com. International Ski Federation. Retrieved 2018-02-10. The FIS World Cup trophy is a trophy manufactured solely for the International Ski Federation. The trophy, unique in terms of the glass refining techniques used, is exclusively awarded to the FIS World Cup winners of each discipline at the Season Finals.