March 16, 2016

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) Peter Fill became the first Italian to win the men's downhill title, while Beat Feuz of Switzerland triumphed in the last race in the discipline at the World Cup finals on Wednesday.

Fill started the race level on points with Aksel Lund Svindal, who has been sidelined with a knee injury since January, and four points above Dominik Paris, who was not at his best after crashing in training on Tuesday and injuring his thigh and knee.

Paris, who won the past two downhills, attacked at the start but was clearly struggling and finished 19th on the tricky Corviglia course in falling snow. Fill was last to go and he just needed to finish safely to clinch the title - but he did not know that.

He crossed the line in 10th, and only after American rival Steven Nyman told him he was the newly crowned king of skiing's marquee event did Fill fall to his knees with his head in his hands and become teary.

''It's a dream come true for me,'' Fill said. ''I worked hard and a lot for it.

''It wasn't an easy race for me going last, the tension and everything. I was on top on a corner alone and I knew nothing, no results from the other guys. I only knew when Steven Nyman told me, `You've won.' I think everyone could see my emotions.''

Fill finished 26 points ahead of Svindal, who won four races before his season-ending injury.

''It's a very important day,'' said a beaming Flavio Roda, the president of the Italian ski federation. ''It's something which has never been achieved by Italians so it's very emotional.

''We need to celebrate these guys, especially Peter. This is the most important present for him. I'll just give him a hug.''

Nyman was second on the day, just 0.08 slower than Feuz, to clinch a fourth successive podium. Erik Guay of Canada was third, 0.54 off the pace.

''I skied really, really well today; nailed the top, the technical section that leads onto the flat,'' Nyman said. ''But then the last turn I was a little too shallow, and didn't carry the speed I needed, and that's where they got me.

''Hard to believe, four podiums in a row. I learned a lot this year, really happy, feeling strong, but I'm also ready for the season to end.''

Nyman said his performance on the course which will host next year's world championships will serve as ''a real confidence booster.''

Kjetil Jansrud finished fourth to move level with Paris in third spot in the overall standings.

''I'm happy for Fill, congratulations to him,'' Paris said. ''There's still a bit of pain, there wasn't much visibility, I didn't understand the slope ... everything was missing a bit today.''

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