Alpine

Bennett Surprises At Val Gardena Downhill

by
USSA
2015-12-19 09:30
 

VAL GARDENA, Italy (Dec. 19, 2015) – Bryce Bennett electrified the crowd with an attack from the back to lead the U.S. men and score a career-best sixth-place finish at Saturday’s Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup downhill.

Long after Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal won yet another downhill this season, Bennett, wearing bid 57, stepped into the starting gate and looked Svindal-esque as he capitalized on his large six-foot-seven-inch frame to keep his skis on the snow and carry speed through key sections where other skiers were thrown off line and forced to make recoveries.

Bryce Bennett
Starting with bib 57, Bryce Bennett attacked to score a career-best sixth-place finish Saturday (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)

Crossing the finish line 1.04 seconds back in sixth place, the once hush crowd erupted in cheers as Bennett lifted his goggles in sheer disbelief before letting a well-deserved fist pump fly.

“I’m still surprised. I crossed the finish and saw sixth and I was like, what? No chance! The timer is broken!” an exhilarated Bennett said in the finish. “I just got in the zone somehow. I’ve been working on it, and it clicked a little bit. I just laser beamed the whole course, just focused every section and it was fast.”

Bryce Bennett skis from bib 57 to sixth place.

The victory for Svindal was his fifth in seven World Cup starts this season. Guillermo Fayed of France was second, followed by Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud in third.

For Bennett, finding the maturity to shake off a bad performance in yesterday’s super G was the key to how he was able to channel his inner self and come away with a stunning result.

“Yesterday went terribly. I was thinking just sideways thoughts all day, so today I tried to ski a bit more and just read a book and just not really think about skiing,” he said. “When I got in the gate, I just skied. I don’t know what happened.”

Andrew Weibrecht
Andrew Weibrecht was 17th in Saturday's downhill (Getty-Alexis Boichard)

In addition to Bennett’s stellar performance, Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT), who was gunning for his fourth career win in Val Gardena, finished ninth, Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) was 13th, and Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) was 17th, giving the Americans an impressive four skiers in the top 20. Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) was 35th.

Up next, the men’s tech team competes in giant slalom Sunday in Alta Badia. The speed team travels to Santa Caterina Dec. 27-29.

Steven Nyman took ninth place.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Career-best World Cup result for Bryce Bennett. His previous career best was 29th two weeks ago at Beaver Creek
  • 14th career top 10 for Steven Nyman, the 12th in downhill
  • 30th career win for Aksel Lund Svindal, 11th in downhill. Fifth win at Val Gardena but first at the site in downhill. It is his fifth win of the season in seven races.
  • Watch the super G on Universal HD at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
  • Up next, the men’s tech team competes in giant slalom Sunday in Alta Badia. Stream it live on NBC Live Extra starting at 3:30 a.m. ET. Watch it the replay at 2 p.m. ET on Universal HD.

QUOTES

Bryce Bennett
I’m still surprised. I crossed the finish and saw sixth and I was like, what? No chance! The timer is broken! I just got in the zone somehow. I’ve been working on it, and it clicked a little bit. I just laser beamed the whole course, just focused every section and it was fast.

BROADCAST AND LIVE STREAMING (times EST)

Sunday, Dec. 20
3:30 a.m. - Men's GS1, Alta Badia - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
6:30 a.m. - Men's GS2, Alta Badia - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
2:00 p.m. - Men's GS, Alta Badia, Universal HD

Travis Ganong was the third American, taking 13th.

RESULTS
Men’s downhill

On-site reporting provided by Ski Racing.