Andrew Kurka

Palmer’s Andrew Kurka has a reputation for going for broke in the downhill, usually resulting in him crashing or medaling.

Go big or go home.

He stayed on his skis today and it resulted in him winning bronze in the men’s sitting event at the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, site of the 1994 Winter Olympics.

This was Kurka’s first podium appearance at the world championships since 2017.

“I’m happy with bronze,” he told teamusa.org.

The 29-year-old had the fastest time at the first split and ranked second at the second split before finishing third overall.

“I was just inches away from gold until I had that one mess up in the lower pitch,” Kurka said. “After not skiing downhill in two years, I feel like it’s a great place to start.”

Jesper Pedersen of Norway won with a single-run time of 1:12.85, followed by Jeroen Kampschreur of the Netherlands in 1:14.51 and Kurka in 1:15.80.

“I was using this as a learning and growing experience, it wasn’t really about knowing if I can win here, but knowing that I can win in Beijing.”

The reigning Paralympic downhill champion finished more than two seconds ahead of the fourth-place finisher. Five skiers in the downhill did not finish.

Kurka, of Colony High fame, was ranked No. 1 in the world in the sitting downhill from 2018 and 2020.

He struck gold at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He also won gold in the downhill at the World Championships in 2017 and World Cup in 2020 and 2018.

Kurka will return to the slopes tomorrow for the super-G, the event he won silver in at the Pyeongchang Games.

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