Andrew Kurka Skis to First Downhill World Title in Tarvisio

By Brianna Tammaro | Jan. 25, 2017, 1:30 p.m. (ET)

 Andrew Kurka took home his first career world title in downhill on the opening day of the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio, Italy.

  • Andrew Kurka won his first career title in the men’s sitting class on the opening day of world championship competition in Tarvisio, Italy
  • Kurka’s win marked only his second world championship podium after finishing with bronze in super-G in 2015
  • Team USA landed just shy of the podium with fourth place finishes from Danelle Umstead with guide Rob Umstead and Stephanie Jallen
  • Competition resumes on Thursday with super-G

TARVISIO, Italy – Wasting no time, Andrew Kurka (Palmer, Alaska) stormed to his first career world title to put Team USA on the board on the opening day of downhill competition at the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio, Italy.

Kurka put in two strong runs on Wednesday to edge defending world champion Corey Peters of New Zealand by six-tenths of a second, finishing with a time of 1:11.55 in the men’s sitting class. Paralympic champion Akira Kano of Japan came in third.

With three world championship appearances, Kurka claimed his first world title after a previous best finish of third in super-G at the 2015 championships in Panorama, British Columbia. He’ll aim to build on his performance today and his last world championship performance with super-G competition tomorrow.

Other top Team USA finishes on Wednesday include:

Danelle Umstead (Park City, Utah) with guide Rob Umstead (Park City, Utah) and Stephanie Jallen (Harding, Pennsylvania) placed fourth in the women's visually impaired and women’s standing classes, respectively. In his world championship debut, Kevin Burton (Boulder, Colorado) and guide Chris Tatsuno (Sun Valley, Idaho) took sixth in the men’s visually impaired class while Melanie Schwartz (Aspen, Colorado) finished seventh in the women’s standing division.

QUOTES

Andrew Kurka

“The excitement is truly overwhelming. The opportunity to showcase what I have was something that I’ve been looking forward to for a really long time. To finally be able to put it down the mountain and win is an opportunity to inspire and show others not only what I’m capable of and what they’re capable of as well.”

LIVESTREAM & RESULTS

To watch action live and follow results from this week’s world championships, visit the Tarvisio 2017 website. Speed competition will resume tomorrow beginning at 4:30 a.m. EST with super-G events.