YANQING, China (Reuters) – It probably came as no surprise to Johan Clarey’s mother that her son would add to his list of age-related feats in skiing by becoming the oldest Alpine Olympics medallist ever at 41, winning silver in the downhill on Monday.
A visibly elated Clarey, on the podium with downhill veterans Beat Feuz of Switzerland and Matthias Mayer of Austria, beat younger medal favourites such as Marco Odermatt, 24, and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, 29.
“I (did) everything late in my life since I was a young boy. That’s what my mother said, I take two times (as long as others) to do everything. Walking, speaking, so apparently for my sports career it’s quite the same,” Frenchman Clarey said.
Clarey has never won a World Cup race but he is the oldest skier to have made it onto a World Cup podium and to have won a World Championship medal.
“This is the most beautiful day of my career…I told myself, this will be your last Games, just attack the piste,” he said.
When asked whether he might retire at this high point, the three-time Olympian said he was not yet sure what he would do next, adding that he had doubts about his career at the age of 35 but then decided to take one year at a time.
“I’m happy with my choice,” he smiled.
(Fixes spelling of ‘medallist’ in headline and story)
(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Hugh Lawson)