Nyman 13th, Dupratt Career-Best 22nd Despite Rough Weather in Val Gardena
On a day rife with challenging weather and course holds due to fog, the 37-year-old veteran Steven Nyman remained unfazed on his favorite track of the circuit, scoring his best super-G result at Val Gardena, Italy, since 2006 to lead the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team in 13th.
It was a shortened super-G from the beginning, with the start lowered to Mauer 1 at 11:45am CET. From there, the fog rolled in and spiraled a bit out of control with at least eight holds before the organizers finally called the race after 48 athletes. Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr took the victory, with Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud on his heels in second by just .05 seconds, and German comeback kid Thomas Dressen rounding out the podium in third, .22 seconds out.
After Steven pulled a ballerina move at 110 km/hour in one of the fastest sections of the course in Thursday's one and only downhill training run, he refocused and pulled himself together for the super-G on Friday, despite the long course holds due to inclement weather.
"My boots were starting to hurt they were on for so long," Steven said with a laugh in the finish. "I skied really well, I had one mistake entering the Ciaslat, and they say if it wasn't for that, I could have been on the podium, but I really am happy with the way I executed overall. It's a sprint race, it's short, this super-G is always a sprint race—you gotta really gun. But from the beginning during inspection, I saw the course and it made sense to me the way they set over the terrain. I really liked it. I liked the way it flowed, and I'm happy."
Steven is also known as “King of the Saslong” for winning the downhill in 2006, 2012 and 2014. In fact, only two skiers have bested his three victories—Kristian Ghedina and Franz Klammer, each with four. Coincidentally, Steven and Bryce’s serviceman, Leo Mussi, was Kristian Ghedina’s serviceman for those four victories as well. So it’s safe to say that Leo Mussi is actually the “King of the Saslong.” Steven was also third on the Saslong in 2016. He's hoping that Friday's skiing is a good omen for Saturday's downhill in this place that is so near and dear to his heart.
"Hopefully it's a good omen for tomorrow, but again, the weather today...lots of waiting, lots of having to stay in the game and stay focused," reflected Steven. "You thought it was over, you thought it was back, you thought it was over, so you never really know, and tomorrow's going to be the same game. Luckily I've skied this a lot and I know what to do on the downhill track, so we'll see what happens. There is a lot of wetness in the snow, but the snow was still dense. They've done a great job to maintain the snow despite all of the course holds and the snow falling up top, and the rain at the bottom. I trusted my technician, I know he makes some good skis here in Gardena, so it came down to me and my performance."
Sam Dupratt, who scored his career-first World Cup points at none other than Kitzbuehel, Austria, in super-G (29th), scored a career-best on Friday when he tied for 22nd with France's Brice Roger. Sam gave big accolades to the organizer for getting the race off and making it happen.
"Today was awesome," exclaimed Sam. "Hats off to the organizer for pushing so hard to make this happen and sorry to the athletes that got cut off. Definitely the longest day in my skiing career. I had my boots off eating an apple strudel and drinking a cappuccino 10 minutes before I raced. It was super hard to be focused for so many hours leading up to it. I really needed this race to happen since my season has started off poorly. I tried to use that motivation from being slow in the past few races to fuel the focus and desire to send it in less than ideal conditions."
"Super stoked to score my personal best this week but planning to keep the ball rolling," Sam continued. "This was only my fifth World Cup super-G start, so it really helps to have some results to help convince myself that I belong here and that I can ski with the best skiers in the world."
Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Travis Ganong were also able to get out of the start gate before the race was called, but ended up outside of the top 30 in 35th and 38th, respectively. Tommy Biesemeyer was two shy of the start gate when the race was cancelled, and Jared Goldberg also was unable to start due to the cancellation.
Up next, the men will watch video and refocus for Saturday's Saslong classic downhill, a favorite of the American downhillers. Last year, the American men went 4-5-6—Bryce Bennett-Steven Nyman-Travis Ganong—on the Saslong. Time for some podium-hunting!
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Saturday, Dec. 21
4:15 a.m. - Women’s downhill, Val d’Isere, FRA - Olympic Channel, Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
5:45 a.m. - Men’s downhill, Val Gardena, ITA - Olympic Channel, Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
8:30 p.m. - Women’s downhill, Val d’Isere, FRA - NBCSN*
Sunday, Dec. 22
3:30 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 1, Alta Badia, ITA - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
4:30 a.m. - Women’s alpine combined super-G, Val d’Isere, FRA - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 1, Alta Badia, ITA - Olympic Channel, Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
8:00 a.m. - Women’s alpine combined slalom, Val d’Isere, FRA - Olympic Channel, Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
7:30 p.m. - Women’s alpine combined, Val, d;’Isere, FRA - NBCSN*
Monday, Dec. 23
9:00 a.m. - Men’s parallel slalom qualifying, Alta Badia, ITA - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m - Men’s parallel slalom qualifying, Alta Badia, ITA - Olympic Channel, Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
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.