Winter Olympics

The Improbable Story of Austrian Gold Medalists Hermann Maier and Matthias Mayer

Each suffered a nasty crash three days before a big race

If you're an Austrian skier competing in an Olympic super-G event, you might consider mixing in a nasty crash three days before your big race. 

Whether by cosmic reason or coincidence, it's an unintentional strategy that has worked for the last two Austrians to take gold in the alpine skiing super-G. 

Matthias Mayer edged his competition by 0.13 seconds to stand atop the podium Thursday in Pyeongchang.

You may remember Mayer as the Olympic gold medalist in the men's downhill in Sochi.

Or, you may remember Mayer as the slalom skier who three days ago was caught on camera accidentally clipping a flag during his run, careening down the slope and crashing into a cameraman and a course official.

Maier won his gold in super-G in the 1998 Nagano games. His was the first super-G gold for Austria in 20 years.

But Maier's road to the super-G gold followed a course eerily similar to Mayer's. Three days before Maier's Olympic win, he was lucky to walk away mostly unscathed from a grisly and now-infamous downhill crash.

High-speed alpine skiing crashes can be extremely dangerous, so it likely won't become a strategy for future Austrian super-G Olympians.

Still, it's worth watching closely to see what happens in Beijing 2022.

Copyright NBC Olympics - Pyeongchang
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