Gold-medal downhiller is the toast of France

13th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 13, 2006 (AFP) - Antoine Dénériaz's gold medal run in the Winter Olympics men's downhill dominated the front pages of French newspapers on Monday.

PARIS, Feb 13, 2006 (AFP) - Antoine Dénériaz's gold medal run in the Winter Olympics men's downhill dominated the front pages of French newspapers on Monday.

The upset win by the 29-year-old from the French Alps inspired sports daily L'Equipe to devote six full broadsheet pages to his triumph leading with the banner front-page headline 'The Day of the Master'.

"Never in the history of the modern Olympic Games has a downhill champion won by such a large margin," the paper said referring to Dénériaz's winning 00.72secs edge over Austrian favourite Michael Walchhofer.

"It's as if a sprinter won the 100m final at the Olympics by three metres over his nearest rivals.

"The pantheon of French sport has just added another great name to go alongside Henri Oreiller, Jean Vuarnet, Jean-Claude Killy and Jean-Luc Chretier in the list of Olympic downhill champions."

Killy, the greatly revered star of the 1968 Grenoble Olympics, said that Deneriaz, who fought back from injury to recover his form in time for Turin, had continued a great French tradition.

"We are very proud of him because he produced the goods when he had to after a long spell of injuries and self doubt."

Tributes were also paid by President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

France's reigning women's downhill champion Carole Montillet, meanwhile, was stretched off the piste after falling heavily during a practice run at the Winter Olympics on Monday.

The veteran Montillet, who won gold in Salt Lake City four years ago, came to grief on landing after struggling to negotiate a jump.

Montillet lay prone for a few minutes and was then evacuated on a stretcher.

She has struggled all season in the World Cup and could only manage the 24th best time in the first training run on Sunday.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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