Odermatt joins exclusive club with downhill title win

Marco Odermatt secured his first downhill title - the Swiss also took the super-G, giant slalom and overall crystal globes this season (Joe Klamar)
Marco Odermatt secured his first downhill title - the Swiss also took the super-G, giant slalom and overall crystal globes this season (Joe Klamar)

Swiss skier Marco Odermatt said it was "something special" to become just the fourth man to claim four titles in a World Cup season after Sunday's final downhill in Saalbach was cancelled due to heavy snowfall.

The decision not to run Sunday's event handed the downhill title to Odermatt, who had already secured the overall as well as the super-G and giant slalom globes.

It was the 26-year-old's first downhill globe. He finished with 552 points, 42 ahead of nearest challenger Frenchman Cyprien Sarrazin.

Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy was the first to win four in a season in 1967. Odermatt's compatriot Pirmin Zurbriggen did it in 1986-87.

Austrian Hermann Maier was the last to manage it in 2000-01.

"I spoke to Hermann two years ago, when I won my first globes and he told me it is cool when you can hold all the globes," said Odermatt. "So I think this will be a good feeling."

The race was initially pushed back from its slated start at 1015 GMT to 1200 by organisers but wind and snow on Sunday morning led to the event being called off.

"Due to the current weather conditions with wind and snow affecting the track, and to ensure the safety of the athletes, the organisation has decided to cancel the race," said the International Ski Federation (FIS).

- 'Tight battle' -

Odermatt won two of the eight downhills completed during the season - both at Wengen in January - and enjoyed a close battle with Sarrazin who won three.

"For sure it's very strange to win a globe after such a tight battle with Cyprien," said Odermatt.

"We both would have been ready for every decision. We saw it on the inspection. I'm not sure safety can be guaranteed.

"It's a good decision for sure from my side, but I think as well for the sport it was a fair decision. But we would have liked to battle it out."

Sunday's cancellation was perhaps a fitting end to a season which has been savaged by poor conditions.

In all, 21 races (13 men's, 8 women's) were called off, the vast majority of them speed events. Only five of the cancelled races were re-run during the season.

"It was a strange season with some cancellations but we had a very good January and February, high quality races, very cool medals, and if you are leader going into the final week, you deserve the globe," said Odermatt.

"It was a lot of waiting, but I always felt really good and motivated to race."

It was a frustrating end of season for Sarrazin, but the 29-year-old agreed with the decision to cancel the event.

"For safety it was a good decision, so there is no problem," he said.

"I wanted to have a fair race and a safe race and that's how it is. We will enjoy tonight because it was an amazing season.

"I'm really happy. I'm proud of myself. I never stopped believing. It was an amazing journey."