Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) charged to fifth on the steep and fast course of the 2014 Sochi downhill on Sunday, pulling out the best finish of his career during his first-ever Olympic appearance. (Getty Images/Julian Finney)
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Feb. 9) – Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) charged to fifth on the steep and fast course of the 2014 Sochi downhill on Sunday, pulling out the best finish of his career during his first-ever Olympic appearance. Ganong skied into the lead but was then bumped by Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud, who took bronze behind gold winner Matthias Mayer of Austria and silver medalist Christof Innerhofer of Italy. Pre-race favorite Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) skied a fast and tight line but plowed through a panel and lost time, finishing eighth. The men’s downhill will be featured on NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage Sunday Feb. 9 at 7:00 p.m. EST and can be streamed on NBCOlympics.com.
Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) made his Olympic debut Thursday, finishing fifth in downhill for the best finish of his young career.
After a slow start, Ganong, who started seventh, charged the bottom of the course to win the last two intervals and finish in the lead.
He was then bumped by Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud, who finished third behind race winner Matthias Mayer of Austria and Christof Innerhofer of Italy.
Ganong entered the Olympics with a career-best weekend in Kitbuehel, finishing seventh in downhill and sixth in super G.
Clouds moved into Rosa Khutor for the first time in four days, creating different light conditions from what the athletes experienced in each of the three training runs.
Pre-race favorite Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), who won two of the three training runs, finished eighth.
Miller again started fast, then took an incredibly tight line above the Bear Jump and plowed through a panel, causing him to lose time toward the finish.
Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) was 27th and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) 30th. It was the final Olympic start for Sullivan, who will not race through 2018.
The men’s downhill will be featured on NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage Sunday Feb. 9 at 7:00 p.m. EST and can be streamed on NBCOlympics.com.
The next men's medal event is Friday, Feb. 14 with super combined featuring reigning World Champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT).
Miller, Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) and Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT) will also start the race for U.S. Men. It will be the first Olympic start for Goldberg.
QUOTES Travis Ganong I had no idea what I would feel like kicking out of the starting gate today. I just let myself relax and let my skiing take over. I had a lot of fun and it worked out. It was actually a lot more forgiving today. I was able to push hard from top to bottom and I felt great at the finish.
My run was awesome. I did basically what I wanted to do. I pushed hard. I pushed huge off the jumps and had a smile on my face when I finished.
I've been methodically building my career over the last four or five years in the World Cup and getting better and better each year and lowering my ranking and gaining more confidence. Now I'm at a point where I know my skiing's good and I can be relaxed. That's a really fun place to be because then you're just having fun every race.
Bode Miller I would’ve loved to win. This is the premier event. I’ve thought about it quite a bit. I thought I had a good chance at it. I was well-prepared. I skied well enough, but it just doesn’t happen sometimes.
I was disappointed not to have a better result next to my name. It’s one of those days where it’s hard to say where the time went, because I skied pretty well. I took a lot of risk and I made a couple small mistakes, but not really mistakes that cost you a lot of time. I have a lot of races ahead of me and I knew this could be a tough one to swallow today, having skied so well on the training runs, and then come in and be way out of the medals.
Sasha Rearick, Head Coach I’m excited that we got that one. I’m excited for Travis to be able to come out and execute. I was really exited to see him come out and ski like he can, and that shows me a lot of his courage and ability to come out on race day and charge. I’m excited that Bode got this one out of the way. He got the nerves out of the way, and now he’s going to take his aggression to the next courses — that I’m confident on.