KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) - Finally, France is on the Alpine medals table at the Sochi Olympics.
“I’m very happy to be a surprise,” said the 29-year-old Missillier, who earned his first major medal Wednesday. “Second place, it’s incredible for me. But Olympic Games is a race of the day and all is possible.”
Still, the French star’s time fell short of the standard set by Missillier, who soared up the standings from 10th in the morning.
“He can ski really fast sometimes,” Pinturault said of his less heralded teammate. “For sure, it is not always easy for him.”
“Especially in super-combined, everybody was waiting for us and we didn’t get any medals,” he said Wednesday, acknowledging he had been “a little lost” handling his first Olympics. “I was a lot less stressed today than at the super-combined. It was important for me (to get a medal).”
French expectations were raised by an exceptional 2013 world championships when the men and women combined to bring home four medals.
However, world champions Marion Rolland (downhill) and Tessa Worley (giant slalom) missed the Olympics through season-ending injuries, and world super-G silver medalist Gauthier De Tessieres retired after failing to make the team.
That left David Poisson, who won downhill bronze a year ago, as the only world championship medalist in Sochi, and he managed just 16th as the best-placed Frenchman in the marquee race.
Men’s giant slalom then became France’s best chance.