Alpine

Ganong Wins Silver For America

by
USSA
2015-02-07 15:20
 

VAIL/BEAVER CREEK, CO (Feb. 7, 2015)—In front of an enormous crowd of 20,000 screaming fans, the U.S. packed three guys into the top ten on Birds of Prey. Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) grabbed an incredible silver medal at Saturday’s FIS Alpine World Ski Championships downhill. Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) was fourth and Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) was ninth.

Ganong was surrounded by the Swiss on the podium, as Patrick Kueng took first place and Beat Feuz third.

It was a gloriously sunny day and the place was packed. The stands filled up by 9:00 a.m. MST, with the race not scheduled to start until 11:00. Crowds extended up the side of the race course, reaching above the finish jump. and the cowbells and cheers were deafening as the Americans reached the finish.

“I could actually hear everybody off the jump,” said Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT).


Goldberg celebrates his silver medal in the finish. (Getty Images-AFP/Mark Ralston)

Goldberg ran bullet for the men, and had a solid run for his first World Championships appearance, finishing 20th. The crowd exploded when Nyman got into the gate. Nyman, who was third in December’s Birds of Prey World Cup, had a spectacular run, taking the lead for a few racers. Eventually, he was bumped down to fourth, just off the podium by .03.

“I was hammering. It was so cool. I was tucking in places I’ve never tucked and was just charging down the hill—giving it everything,” said Nyman. “I’m happy with my run. It was really cool to come down to this, in the lead by a couple tenths, people just going nuts.”

But the story of the day was 26-year-old Travis Ganong, who took home his first World Championships medal. He skied down in second place and didn’t give up the spot for the rest of the race.

“I’ve trained so hard the last couple of years. I love to ski. All day long, I was just super relaxed and having a good time,” said Ganong, who only has two podiums in World Cups. “It’s unbelievable. Skiing is the most fun thing you can do, and when it works out well in a venue and on a stage like this, it’s so special.” 

Weibrecht was the last American down the hill, wearing bib 35, and stunned the crowd by posting the fastest splits at the top. He lost a little time when he got low on the line after Harrier, landing him in ninth place. Still excited, he says he’s looking forward to the alpine combined on Sunday.

“These are guys I ski with every day,” said Weibrecht. “They were a little ahead of me today, so I’ll try to get them tomorrow.”


Nyman throws himself down the hill, finishing just .03 off the podium in fourth place. (Getty Images-AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

The men race an alpine combined tomorrow—a run of downhill at 10:00 a.m. and a run of slalom at 2:15 p.m. MST. The downhill will be aired live at 12:00 p.m. EST on Universal Sports Network. NBC will air the full alpine combined at 4:30 p.m. EST.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Before Travis Ganong, the last World Championships downhill medal for Americans was in 2005 when Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves went 1-2 in Bormio, Italy.
  • Ganong was fifth in the Birds of Prey downhill in December, and fifth in the Sochi Olympics.
  • Weibrecht’s ninth place result beat his previous best finish on Birds of Prey—10th in 2007.

QUOTES
Travis Ganong
There’s so much pressure here in front of the home country, hometown crowd, my friends and family. I woke up this morning and I had so much pressure. I couldn’t really sleep much last night. But I woke up and was like ‘OK, I’ve skied my whole life. I’ve trained so hard the last couple of years. I love to ski. Let's go out have some fun.’ All day long, I was just super relaxed and having a good time. It’s unbelievable. Skiing is the most fun thing you can do, and when it works out well in a venue and on a stage like this, it’s so special. 

I watched video with [Daron Rahlves] two nights ago. We watched the video from 2003 when he won. And he is instilled confidence in me, saying ‘You’re a great skier. You can do this. It’s easy, come on. ‘We’ve known each other for a long time and he’s a good friend of mine and I trust him. I inspected with him a little bit today, as well. It’s good having that support system. At the same time, there are so many variables, and you just have to push hard and hope for the best. Today, I pushed hard and had a great run. 

Steve Nyman inspired me. I heard he was in second place, and was like OK, if he’s fast, I can be fast. He said the track was in perfect shape and I could do what I want. That’s what I did. I just sent it down the hill and had a great run. 

In training for the last three to four years, I’ve been really fast against the whole world. It’s just been a matter of time to finally figure out how to do that on a race day. After getting fifth at the Olympics, and my podium in Kvitfjell, and top tens the whole year after that, it’s a process. It’s building and building and building and it built toward this moment. Hopefully this is just the beginning.

I just knew I had to push hard top to bottom, but at the same time stay relaxed and stick to my plan, have fun and not get tight. I did that today. It’s a perfect day. 

Steven Nyman
I know where I lost it. That’s all I can think about it! [I lost speed] coming into the Brink off the flat. I went a little too straight, lost my ski. There’s a lot of headwind there. It just wasn’t super smooth. Other than that, I had a win coming up the pitch. I was hammering. It was so cool. I was tucking in places I’ve never tucked and was just charging down the hill—giving it everything. I’m happy with my run. It was really cool to come down to this, in the lead by a couple tenths, people just going nuts. That was fun.

There’s one big mistake I know I had and that cost me the race. Just at the Brink, I went a little too straight and had to jam. You’re always nervous, but I just keep it simple. I focus on three things and know that’s all I have to do. I’m balanced on my skis, I’m strong and I know that if I do what I do, it’s all good.

Congrats to Travis. Obviously I’m pissed! I radioed up and said, ‘It was great. Send it. Trust yourself. Go for it.’ He laid it down. I’m happy for him. Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling. We’ve got the combi next. I might even race that thing. I got some slalom skills in these legs.

Jared Goldberg
Running first today was awesome. It was perfectly smooth. It reminded me of forerunning here when I was a little kid. It was awesome.

There was actually a lot more nerves today, for some reason. I think because it was the downhill. It’s the coolest event. It’s such a big deal. I was chilling out all morning and trying not to get over excited.

I was kind of joking around with some people about what I would do as a reaction in the finish. I would for sure be winning no matter what. But, I was really happy and really stoked. I could actually hear everybody off the jump. I even rode up the lift with some drunk kids dressed like chickens. That kind of relaxed me actually.   

Andrew Weibrecht
I was really happy with my skiing today. The track was in great condition. I really took advantage of the opportunity I had. I definitely gave it away a little bit at the bottom and I felt that. But that’s how it goes sometimes. I keep trying. It can’t be every time. I’m really happy with my skiing and the way I executed. With this group of guys, you can’t make little mistakes. 

Knowing how well Steve and Travis skied, it’s easy to say, OK, I have to hammer down. These are guys I ski with every day. They were a little ahead of me today, so I’ll try to get them tomorrow.

Sasha Rearick, men’s head coach
The boys sent it. All four of them sent it. They skied and took the energy of Beaver Creek in—the fan’s energy, the crowd, the excitement. They took it in and laid down inspiring runs. All of them. Even Jared Goldberg, this is his first downhill at a championships event. He executed what he had planned to do. He lost some time in the middle, but up on the pitch and headwall he skied amazing. 

Weibrecht, beautiful. He got everybody excited, got myself excited. When I finally heard the time, my heart sunk. But at the same time, I’m extremely proud of his focus and what he’s been working on.

VIDEO

HELP THE TEAM

The U.S. Ski Team relies solely on the support of the American public. Click here to support the team.