Swiss skier Bruno Kernen has won bronze in the men's super-G at this year's World Ski Championships in Åre, Sweden.
The veteran came behind surprise winner Patrick Staudacher of Italy and Austrian Fritz Strobl. Kernen clocked one minute 14.92 seconds.
"In the finish area I was sure my time would not be good enough. I kept losing pressure on my outside ski. Now I have [a] medal. That's unbelievable," Kernen said after the race.
The super-G was the first title awarded at the championships, where racing was delayed for three days because of strong winds and heavy snowfalls.
Staudacher, skiing in his first championships, left the other competitors trailing in his wake with a time of 1:14.30, to bring home Italy's first ever gold medal in the super-G.
Only former Olympic downhill champion Strobl seriously threatened to deny Staudacher, taking the silver medal with a time that was only 0.32 seconds behind the Italian.
Another Swiss, Didier Cuche, shared the fourth spot with Austrian Christoph Gruber.
Defending champion Bode Miller of the United States finished in 24th place after making several mistakes on the icy course.
Before the race, Kernen had set a target of coming among the first four in the super-G – his career best is 5th.
Kernen, from the Bernese Oberland, has now won five medals at major events. In 1997 he was world champion in the downhill, as well as a silver medalist in the Alpine combined.
In 2003 he won a bronze in the downhill at the world championships in St. Moritz and was a bronze medal winner at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, also in the downhill.
Cuche, a silver medallist in the super-G at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, has been in good form this season. He is currently leading the standings in the downhill events and has four podium finishes this season, all second places.
Kernen's medal is a good start for the Swiss team, but there were no top spots in the women's super-G event which also took place on Tuesday.
Since hitting rock bottom at the 2005 Alpine World Ski Championships in Bormio, Italy, the country's alpine skiers are hoping to do well in Sweden.
swissinfo with agencies
The 2007 Alpine World Ski Championships will be held in Åre, Sweden from February 2-18, 2007. Åre is situated in Jämtland, 98 km from the city of Ostersund.
The Championships will be the largest winter sport event ever in Sweden, with 350 competitors from 60 nations expected to take part. The Swiss delegation comprises 18 athletes – 10 women and 8 men.
Women's team: Dominique Gisin, Fränzi Aufdenblatten, Sylviane Berthod, Nadia Styger, Martina Schild, Fabienne Suter, Rabea Grand, Sandra Gini, Tamara Wolf and Catherine Borghi.
Men's team: Daniel Albrecht, Marc Berthod, Didier Défago, Marc Gini, Ambrosi Hoffmann, Bruno Kernen, Silvan Zurbriggen and Didier Cuche.
Men's super-G results:
1. STAUDACHER Patrick (ITA) 1 min. 14.30 seconds
2. STROBL Fritz (AUT) 1:14.62
3. KERNEN Bruno (SUI) 1:14.92
4. GRUBER Christoph (AUT) 1:14.93
4. CUCHE Didier (SUI) 1:14.93
6. GUAY Erik (CAN) 1:14.95
7. MAIER Hermann (AUT) 1:14.96
7. HUDEC Jan (CAN) 1:14.96
9. BOURQUE Francois(CAN) 1:14.97
10. BUECHEL Marco (LIE) 1:14.99
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