Ireland's Jack Gower put in a superb display on the slopes to finish 12th overall in the men's alpine combined at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games on Thursday.

The alpine combined is an event where athletes compete in the downhill speed event with the more technical slalom, and the overall winner is the fastest racer once the race times are combined.

Normally a downhill specialist, Gower put down a clean run in the challenging and technical slalom course, finishing 12th with a time of 52:58, placing him firmly inside his top-15 goal.

When it was combined with the earlier downhill time of 1:45.16, it ensured a 12th-place finish overall with a time of 2:37.74.

Twelfth at the Olympics, I mean that's crazy

It marks Ireland's best alpine skiing result ever and a Winter Olympic result only bettered by Clifton Wrottesley who finished fourth in the skeleton in 2002.

Austria's Johannes Strolz completed his incredible comeback from the brink of giving up professional skiing by winning gold, pipping Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde to top spot with Canada's James Crawford third.

"Twelfth at the Olympics, I mean that's crazy. There’s 30,000 competitors in alpine skiing, to get 12th is… what can I say, it’s great," said Gower afterwards.

Gower acheived Ireland second best result at a Winter Olympics

"As an athlete you always want a little more. The downhill I had some really good sections and some slower sections, and the slalom was a real battle, so I would love to have done better.

"But at the same time 12th in the Olympics in such a competitive sport is huge, and I feel so grateful that I have had such huge support."

Gower is Ireland’s only competitor in action today.

Earlier this week Gower suffered a DNF in the men’s Super-G and finished 31st overall in the men’s downhill.

Gold winner Strolz almost quit skiing a year ago after losing his place in his country's top team, worked as a policeman in a small town in Austria for months last summer, driving a patrol car and controlling traffic to earn money and staying on the ski circuit without official support.

He was eventually invited to train with the German alpine team and punched his ticket to the Olympics with a stunning slalom victory at a World Cup race in Adelboden in Switzerland last month - his first in his nine years of racing.