Ganong 8th in return from injury, Sullivan 18th in final World Cup downhill
KVITFJELL, Norway — After a short delay, the fog cleared in Norway to leave a bluebird sky and perfect track for Steven Nyman to earn his third Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill podium in three races, finishing third.
Behind Nyman, Travis Ganong of Squaw Valley cracked the top 10 in his first race back after taking a few weeks off to nurse a nagging knee injury from earlier this season, taking eighth. Squaw Valley’s Marco Sullivan finished 18th in his 105th World Cup downhill, while Andrew Weibrecht was 20th and Tommy Biesemeyer 36th.
“I skied really well and I’m happy with how I’m feeling on my skis and my movement and the continued podiums,” Nyman said after the race. “Three in a row, that’s kind of cool!”
Even with a bobble at the top, Nyman quickly made up time, nailing an aggressive line to take first from the early leader Canadian Manuel Osborne-Paradis. But it wasn’t quite enough to keep the lead, with Dominik Paris of Italy squeaking out his second downhill win in two races and 24-year-old Frenchman Valentin Giraud Moine surprising the fans to take second.
“It’s funny. Every race day I’ve been really nervous. I have to settle myself down and focus on the necessities,” Nyman said. “I know everything is working right—I know my body is right; I just have to perform.”
The next day, Weibrecht just missed a podium spot, finishing fifth, to lead three Americans into the top 20 in the super G.
“I got caught in some soft snow down at the bottom, but that’s just how it goes – made a mistake and lost some time – but it was a good race and I’m happy with it,” Weibrecht said.
Ganong was 14th and Nyman 17th.
Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud won his 14th World Cup race as Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr finished second and Paris was third on the 1994 Olympic track.
In the hunt for the overall World Cup super G title, Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished fourth and holds a 25-point lead over injured countryman Aksel Lund Svindal with one race remaining next week at the World Cup Finals. Kriechmayr also remains in the hunt in third, just 37 points back. Weibrecht is fifth overall, 91 points behind Kilde.
Sunday’s race was the final World Cup start in the 16-year career for Sullivan, who announced his retirement following Saturday’s downhill. Sullivan finished 36th Sunday, and was presented with the AmericanDowhiller denim vest by his teammates in the finish, along with a champagne shower.
“Marco is the guy when I was first on the U.S. Ski Team that we were all watching and paying attention to,” Weibrecht said. “He has been a huge influence on my skiing. He’s been a huge mentor to me. It’s too bad to see him go; we all wish him the best.”
Up next, the men and women’s tour converge in St. Moritz, Switzerland, for the World Cup Finals.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.