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Austria celebrates return to standard for ski team with gold medal

Austria celebrates return to standard for ski team with gold medal

A surprise gold medal for downhill skier Matthias Mayer has got the Austrian team off to a great start on the first weekend of the Sochi Winter Games.

Twenty-three-year-old Mayer beat favourites Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal and US Bode Miller, coming in 0.006 seconds ahead of Italian Christof Innerhofer who took the silver medal. Miller and Svindal came in fourth and eight respectively.

The win has helped to put the team's experience at the previous winter games in Vancouver behind them, where they failed for the first time since 1936 to get any medals.

Matthias has attributed his win partly due to the fact that he did not feel under pressure during the downhill ski race.

"As an Austrian you always know when you start that if you win a race, that it will be highly valued in Austria," he said. "So it's often difficult for young racers, you often feel the pressure. Today I didn't and that's why I was successful."

Other gold medallists on Sunday included US snowboarder Jamie Anderson, Dutch speed skater Irene Wust and the Russian team figure skaters.

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