Ganong Fifth to Lead Five Americans into the Top 30
Travis Ganong landed in a season-best fifth-place in Saturday's downhill, to lead five Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team downhillers into the top 30 on the Kandahar track in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
In a race where the top 20 were separated by a mere 1.01 seconds, hometown hero Thomas Dressen emerged victorious in Saturday’s downhill over Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt-Kilde in second, .16 seconds back and France’s Johan Clarey, .17 off the pace. Travis missed the podium by one-tenth of a second. On almost any other downhill day, that performance would have landed him in the top three.
Though he was slow out of the gate, Travis made up a significant amount of time in the middle section and bottom of the Kandahar track. “It’s kind of frustrating to be .45 of a second out on the first 13 seconds and then coming into the finish .27 out, so for sure I left a lot of time on the hill,” he reflected. “But, I’m really happy with how I skied and it’s always good to have a good result here. There’s always this mystique around Garmisch of being dark and bumpy and gnarly...for my style of skiing, it really works here. I like it a lot.”
In 2017, Travis won first of two downhills in Garmisch—a rescheduled downhill from Wengen. On that same day, teammate Steven Nyman was having the fastest run of the day before he hit the net, injured his knee and was airlifted off the track. Steven ran 11th that day and Travis was 12th. He stood in the start shack for about 20 minutes as they airlifted his teammate, with little idea what was going on, attempting to maintain focus on his run. He came down into first that day. “A bittersweet day for sure,” as he said in our second edition of “Cellar Talks” prior to Saturday’s downhill. The following season, Travis injured his knee. He’s been steadily progressing since his return, with solid results last season and continued strength in the 2019-20 season.
“The last time I raced here was the year I won, because the next year I blew out my knee, and the next year was cancelled...I have really good feelings on this hill, it just really makes sense to me,” Travis reflected. “The really fast sections into one big turn where you have to nail the timing and carry speed to the next section...yeah, I had good feelings today. The season’s almost coming to an end now, we have two more downhills before finals, and it’s really good to just have a nice solid result, score a bunch of points, and put myself in a good position for the end of the season and next year, too. I’m really happy with my race, and I guess I like this hill a lot.”
Ryan Cochran-Siegle skied a super solid run, landing in 12th, followed by Jared Goldberg in 20th—his best result so far this season, Bryce Bennett in 23rd, and Steven Nyman in 29th. Ryan is currently sitting in 12th in the downhill standings, with Travis in 14th, Steven in 18th and Bryce in 19th. The level of competition in men’s downhill at the moment is high, with a lot of guys who have the ability to reach the podium. “Even with the shortened race, it was still almost a full-length downhill at 1:40, and it’s amazing how tight the race was,” Travis said.
“I think the conditions ended up being really good today, and everyone was pushing," he continued. "The level is really high in downhill right now, there are different guys on the podium and winning every week, so it’s really competitive. I’m not sure how tight it is behind me, but it’s always nice to be that close to a podium...it’s amazing how competitive it is. The amount of guys that are skiing really really well and pushing is at an amazing level right now, so it’s always good to have a good result when the level is that high.”
Sam Dupratt also started for the Americans—his career-first World Cup downhill—finishing in 47th.
Up next for the men is a giant slalom on Sunday, in which Olympic champion Ted Ligety and this year’s Birds of Prey GS victor Tommy Ford will lead the charge for the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team. Ted’s last career podium was a third place in Garmisch prior to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Saturday, Feb. 2
12:30 a.m. - Men’s downhill, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - NBCSN*
2:30 a.m. - Women’s super-G, Rosa Khutor, RUS - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
4:00 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 1, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
6:30 a.m. - Women’s super-G, Rosa Khutor, RUS - Olympic Channel*
7:30 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 2, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. - Men’s giant slalom, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - NBCSN*
Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app.
Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass, available here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.