By Nick Mulvenney
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – Henrik Kristoffersen had no regrets despite blowing a golden opportunity to win his first Olympic title in the slalom at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Thursday.
The 23-year-old Norwegian apparently had an open run to gold after his slalom arch-nemesis Marcel Hirscher crashed out and he was fastest in the first run at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre.
Kristoffersen, who with Hirscher have pretty much monopolized the slalom for the last couple of years, charged out of the start on the second run but made an error after only a handful of gates and skied out.
“I’m not really disappointed, it’s better to have tried and failed than never tried at all,” he told reporters. “You’ve got to risk if you want to win. That happens, it’s slalom.”
Kristoffersen, who won a giant slalom silver behind Hirscher in Pyeongchang and a slalom bronze as a teenager in Sochi four years ago, said he had been suffering from a cold for a few days but that his vomiting before the race was quite normal.
“I was a little bit late coming out of that first hairpin and then the next one had a bigger groove than what I expected. Boots hit the wall in the snow there,” he added.
“I was up pretty quick, though, if I hadn’t have got gates between the legs, it was possible that I would have been still okay. But that’s life, it happens.”
That Swede Andre Myhrer took gold at the age of 35 was encouragement to Kristoffersen, who reckoned he had “two or three” more Olympic Games in him to secure the precious gold medal.
As for how he would pick himself after defeat, the irrepressible Norwegian — who has plenty of practice losing slalom races to Hirscher — said that job was already done.
“I’m already up, I’m not down in the snow anymore,” he grinned.
(Editing by John O’Brien)