Matt kin complete the set

Shine
The Matt family of Austrian skiers completed the Olympic set of gold, silver and bronze with Michael Matt's third-place finish in the men's slalom in Pyeongchang yesterday.
Shine
Reuters

Bronze medalist Michael Matt of Austria reacts after the slalom at Yongpyong Alpine Center yesterday.

THREE brothers, three Olympics and now three medals, one of each color.

The Matt family of Austrian skiers completed the Olympic set of gold, silver and bronze with Michael Matt’s third-place finish in the men’s slalom in Pyeongchang yesterday.

Big brother Mario, the slalom champion at the 2014 Sochi Games who has since retired, lent a hand, calling Michael after his first run with advice on how to ski better in the second.

“It’s not a good sign when he calls me because it’s always when I’m slow in the first run,” Michael said.

“But it helped. He said, ‘It didn’t look good, didn’t look smooth’. It’s not the way I can ski so we changed it a little bit.”

Middle brother Andreas Matt got the family medal collection rolling with silver in ski cross at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Only 12th fastest in the first run on a course that 54 of the 106 starters failed to complete, including title favorite and compatriot Marcel Hirscher, Matt excelled on the second run, skiing quicker than anyone.

Then followed an excruciating wait to see if his combined time would be enough for a medal.

“That was the craziest feeling I’ve ever had, waiting down here,” he said. “I couldn’t even watch anyone coming after me.”

After 10 of the last 11 racers had skied, Matt was still in bronze-medal position. But that last racer was Henrik Kristoffersen, the Norwegian who skied with silky smoothness to lead the first run.

Matt sensed his medal hopes evaporating: Kristoffersen, he figured, would take gold, bumping him off the podium.

He figured wrong.

“I got my backpack and said, ‘That’s it.’ Because Henrik is really fast and skis very safe,” he said. “I thought it was over. So I grabbed my bag and watched him race. And he attacked full at the top and fell. It was lucky for me.”

In the blink that it took for Kristoffersen to miss a gate and ski out, Matt went from resigned also-ran to medal winner.

The family collection was complete.

“Yeah,” he said, “amazing.”

Swiss Ramon Zenhaeusern took silver behind Swedish veteran Andre Myhrer.


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