Schladming will host the 42nd edition of the Alpine World Ski Championships, marking the second time that the town will stage the event and the ninth time that the alpine skiing-crazy nation of Austria will have the honour.
Austrian superstar Harti Weirather won the blue-riband event of the 1982 Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming, taking out the men’s downhill by just under half a second from Switzerland’s Conradin Cathomen. Klaus Kroell, Hannes Reichelt and Max Franz are Austria’s strongest chances of a home win in the most prestigious race on the 2013 program.
Austria is far and away the most successful country in the history of the Alpine World Ski Championships, winning 71 gold medals, 73 silver medals and 66 bronze medals for a total of 210 medals. Next best is Switzerland on 50 gold, 56 silver and 47 bronze for a total of 153. All up, 22 nations have won at least one medal dating back to the inaugural competition held in Murren in Switzerland 82 years ago.
With five gold medals, four silver medals and three bronze medals, Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt heads the men’s Alpine World Ski Championships medal table. Germany’s Christl Cranz top the women’s standings with 12 gold and three silver.
Since 1995, the Alpine World Ski Championships have been organised in odd-numbered years so as not to clash with Winter Olympic Games. And looking ahead, the International Ski Federation has awarded the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships and 2017 Alpine World Ski Championships to Vail/Beaver Creek and St Moritz respectively.
Turning one’s attention back to the 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships, there are 11 events scheduled – downhill, giant slalom, slalom, super combined and super G races for both men and women, plus a mixed team competition.
Svindal too short for men’s downhill
Aksel Lund Svindal is the clear favourite to win the 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships men’s downhill gold medal, probably because he won the 2007 title in Are and was the dominant racer in the last event staged on the slopes of Schladming. The Norwegian won last year’s World Cup men’s downhill in Schladming by 0.57 seconds from a top field.
However, Svindal trails Dominik Paris in this term’s World Cup men’s downhill standings, finished fifth in the 2011 Alpine World Ski Championships men’s downhill and was the silver medallist behind Didier Defago in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games men’s downhill. The Norwegian is a fine racer worthy of respect in any speed event but he is more of a super G specialist and worth opposing at his short odds.
Paris and Reichelt are the best value bets against Svindal, with the Italian trading at odds of around 12-1 and the Austrian available at around 11-1. Rising star Paris leads this season’s World Cup men’s downhill competition by three points and he was second fastest in training for the last men’s downhill event in Schladming before producing a poor run in the race itself. Ranked sixth in this term’s World Cup men’s downhill, Reichelt was third in Schladming 11 months ago and he is in the high-speed form of his life.
Vonn worthy women’s downhill favourite
The women’s downhill does not have the profile of the men’s downhill but it will be one of the highlights of the 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships, with United States of America’s Lindsey Vonn dominating the betting market.
Fast and furious, the Alpine Ski World Championship is the premier event on the skiing calendar
Whereas one can make a case for opposing Svindal in the 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships men’s downhill, one cannot knock the gold medal credentials of Vonn in the women’s equivalent even though she is odds on in some places.
Vonn has won five consecutive World Cup women’s downhill titles and leads this season’s series by a whopping 129 points. The American has 61.13 per cent more points than Stacey Cook, her compatriot in second spot on 211. Also, Vonn took out the 2009 Alpine World Ski Championship women’s downhill in Val d’Isere and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games women’s downhill. The 28-year-old phenomenon missed out on 2011 Alpine World Ski Championship women’s downhill gold in Garmisch-Partenkirchen but only just, collecting silver.
The winner of three of this term’s five World Cup women’s downhill races, Vonn is more than entitled to be odds-on status so grab the evens available with some bookmakers.
Oppose Hirscher in men’s slalom
Of the other nine events on the 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships program, the one that presents the most interesting betting opportunity is the men’s slalom.
As the most technical alpine skiing discipline, slalom lends itself to opposing a favourite as short as Marcel Hirscher at odds of around 5-4. The Austrian youngster leads this term’s World Cup men’s slalom standings but he flopped in Schladming last year and asks for punters to oppose him.
Felix Neureuther and Andre Myhrer are the 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships men’s slalom second and third favourites respectively and they filled the first two positions in Schladming in 2011. One can back the German at odds of around 5-1 and the Swede at around 17-2. Dutching them provides odds in excess of 13-5, which makes considerably more sense than backing Hirscher alone at a shorter price.