Source: USA TODAY
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Patrick Kueng isn’t just older and wiser at 29. He’s older and faster.
“I’m a little bit older and I think it is the best age for going fast in the downhill and super-G,” he said Saturday after winning the super-G at the World Cup stop here.
Switzerland’s Kueng won it in 1:21.73, just .24 seconds in front of Otmar Striedinger of Austria, who had never before appeared on a podium. Likewise, the Swiss team had not won a World Cup speed event since March 2012.
“Yeah, last season was difficult for us, for the whole team,” Kueng said. “End of season we changed trainers and I make a lot of skiing in the spring. And we have really good stuff now and the group is fast in training and we are on the right way.”
Striedinger was the 45th starter and Kueng, who’d started 28th, said he was very tense when he saw the Austrian’s fast run and felt “very relieved” still to be in the lead after it. Had Striedinger won, it would not have done much for Kueng’s age theory, as Striedinger is just 22.
“When I was a young boy, my dream was to become a professional skier,” Striedinger said, and the moderator had to push the microphone closer as the Austrian is new at this. “And I wanted to go into a stadium and today is the best day. At the finish line, I saw the second place and – wow, I couldn’t believe it.”
It was a good day all around for Austria, as Striedinger’s teammate Hannes Reichelt finished just behind him, tied for third with Italy’s Peter Fill. The USA’s Ted Ligety was fifth.
“I am happy that we are such a strong team,” Striedinger said. “We will push together and I think that is the key to becoming stronger and stronger.”
Kueng will be 30 in January. Striedinger turns 23 in April.
“For young boys like me, there is no pressure,” Striedinger said. “We can risk.”
The world championship comes to Beaver Creek in 2015. Kueng was asked if he was looking forward to that given his success here.
“Yes, for sure,” Kueng said, “but it’s not the same snow.”