He didn't even race for Austria at the Vancouver Games four years ago. More recently, Matt went more than two years without a World Cup victory until ending that drought in Val d'Isere, France, in December.
On Saturday, he lost a full second of his lead over Hirscher in the second run, then seemed stunned when he crossed the finish line and his time was good enough.
"This is a well-earned victory. Let's face it, he was faster," said Hirscher, the two-time overall World Cup champion who had finished fourth twice and fifth once in previous Olympic races.
Hirscher came into the day as the favorite.
Matt, though, ended it with the gold.
"He was one of the first guys to arc slalom turns and do it with consistency," Rearick said. "For him to come back and win World Cup races, win championships and then to finish off by winning a gold medal here — he's a tremendous competitor, a game-day guy."
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