The 29-year-old Austrian won the men's Super G event at Cortina 2021 on Thursday (11th February), with a margin of 0.38 seconds over former teammate Romed Baumann, who has represented Germany since 2019.
Overall World Cup leader Alexis Pinturault had his best Super G performance of the season and took a surprise bronze, just 0.04 seconds in front of Canada's Brodie Seger, who started with bib no. 28.
Kriechmayr confirmed his dominance in the discipline this season, after winning the last two World Cup events (Kitzbuehel, Garmisch) and topping the Super G standings.
“It was a really tough race for me, it wasn’t perfect, but it’s a nice way to start the world championships," Kriechmayr told FIS TV.
Baumann making history
35-year-old Baumann, who didn't make a podium since the 2014/15 World Cup, is the first skier to win a medal at the world championships with two different countries: he was a bronze medallist for Austria in the combined event at the world champs in Schladming in 2013.
The men's Super G marked the debut of the brand new course Vertigine (which translates as "vertigo"), which was never tested before and will be used at the Milano-Cortina 2026 Winter Games.
And the setting from Italian coach Alberto Ghidoni caused a few problems to the competitors.
The first three skiers to go down failed to finish the race: Christian Walder of Austria and Switzerland's Loic Meillard and Mauro Caviezel couldn't hold the line and all three missed the same gate after the Vertigine jump. 18 more competitors had a DNF.
The men's race was the second event of the day after the World Championships began earlier on Thursday (11th February) with victory for Lara Gut-Behrami in the women's Super G race, for her first world title.