November 30, 2007
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (USST Press Release)—Steven Nyman (Provo, UT), whose first World Cup podium came at Beaver Creek a year ago, "nailed the line" Friday to finish second in downhill during a snowstorm at the Charles Schwab Birds of Prey races. "I feel so good about the way I performed," he said after finishing five-hundredths of a second away from victory.
NBC will televise coverage of the downhill Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
Making it three Americans in the top 10, Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) was sixth and World Cup rookie Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY), starting way back in 53rd place, finished 10th. "It's been quite a 24 hours," Weibrecht said, a reference to coming into the Charles Schwab races with zero World Cup points and then finishing 14th and 10th.
Austrian star Michael Walchhofer won the race with a time of 1:13.74 in the second downhill of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup schedule. Nyman finished in 1:13.79 with Miller, a two-time Birds of Prey DH winner, sixth in 1:14.10. Weibrecht's time was 1:14.28.
U.S. skiers had won the downhill four straight seasons - Miller in the 2005 and '07 seasons and Daron Rahlves, who retired after the 2006 Olympics, won in the 2004 and 2006 seasons. However, Nyman's performance kept alive the U.S. podium string, which goes back to Rahlves finishing third in the 2003 season: six consecutive seasons of a top-3 in the downhill.
Nyman tightened his focus
The storm and winds caused organizers to drop the normal start for safety reasons to what had been the combined DH start Thursday. Nyman has three second-place results for the week: second in the DH training run Tuesday and also second in the downhill phase of the super combined. By mid-race, the snow had stopped and the sun came out very briefly, before the snow returned for later racers. Nyman skied at one of the toughest weather periods of the race.
"They lowered the start and it was dumping when I went (starting No. 8). I guess I had some pretty bad weather. Y'know, though, I don't even know how much it was snowing. I really was focused on my racing," Nyman said. "I hit it like I wanted to hit it. I nailed the line just right. I'm so stoked with my run because I did what I wanted to do."
Thursday, he crashed in the slalom portion of the super combi, but said he was happy because he "figured out some things" about the steep and gnarly nature of the downhill terrain. "I focused on what I could control. I couldn't do anything with the way anyone else raced, so I just focused on my run," he explained.
"After the snow stopped, the sun came out and I thought, 'Oooooh, there goes my podium' - but that didn't happen," Nyman laughed.
A short time later, though, the storm rolled back in for the final racers. Weibrecht, following Nyman's lead, zeroed-in on the course, not the competition or conditions.
"Wild ride" for Weibrecht
"It was a wild ride. The snow was wet and it was sticking to my goggles...but, yeah, my Uvexes were really fast," he said with a grin. I thought I was out a couple of times, almost crashed a couple of times...and couldn't believe I was as fast as I was."But I knew I had to take some risks, and I did it. I knew there was no point going up to the start if I wasn't going to risk it."
DH Head Coach Chris Brigham laughed and noted, "I guess the Utah boy doesn't need sunshine to have a good run. Nyman skied fantastic, did a phenomenal job. He had a little problem at the top but from the middle to the finish he executed perfectly. He followed the plan and made it happen."
Weibrecht's performance followed his first World Cup points Thursday when he was 14th in the super combi. "It wasn't totally surprising. Well, maybe a top-10 is surprising, but he's been skiing well all through the prep period," Brigham said.
The Charles Schwab races continue Saturday with the A1 Men's Super G and then the Rauch Men's Giant Slalom Sunday to complete the schedule. WCSN.com will have live coverage each day.
2008 AUDI FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Charles Schwab Birds of Prey Race Week
Beaver Creek, CO - Nov. 30, 2007
1. Michael Walchhofer, Austria, 1:13.74
2. Steven Nyman, Provo, UT, 1:13.79
3. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 1:13.84
4. Didier defago, Switzerland, 1:13.93
5. Marco Buechel, Liechtenstein, 1:13.94
6. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, N.H., 1:14.10
10. Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, NY, 1:14.28
20. Scott Macartney, Kirkland, WA, 1:14.79
40. Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA, 1:15.75
T.J. Lanning, Park City, UT