Miller, Svindal complete runs in comeback bids
BEAVER CREEK — Following his downhill training run on Tuesday, Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal told reporters he probably isn’t a favorite for the podium in today’s super-G at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
“Yes you are,” said downhiller Marco Sullivan of the U.S. Ski Team, who happened to be walking by at the time.
Indeed, with his season abbreviated due to a torn Achilles, Svindal, the reigning super-G World Cup champion for three years running, has not had the training he would have hoped for heading into the World Championships. His appearance on the course Tuesday came as a surprise to many fans and reporters who were expecting him to be out the whole season. The Norwegian super-G star was promptly swarmed with cameras following his run.
“I felt that this is something I haven’t done in a long time, but my timing wasn’t that bad,” Svindal told reporters. “So I think there was a lot of guys who had some issues.”
Svindal concluded by confirming that he will race in today’s super-G.
“I have nothing to lose, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
The other big story on the men’s side of ski racing Tuesday was Bode Miller, who also made his return to the Birds of Prey course after missing the December World Cup along with Svindal.
Miller said he’s feeling well physically after having back surgery in November.
“My body felt fine, and the course runs nice and smooth,” Miller said.
Miller finished 12th in training; Svindal was 11th and the favorite to win the downhill, Kjetil Jansrud, had the fastest time on the day. The top-finishing American was Travis Ganong (fifth), who said his main focus in training was his start.
“Every year I’ve been racing here I’ve lost the race on the top flat,” Ganong said of the course. “So that was my goal for training, to be faster up there, and today I was fast up there, so got the job done today.”
Steven Nyman, who finished third in the downhill on the same course at the Birds of Prey World Cup in December, said he was experimenting with his run on Tuesday, finishing 22nd.
“I thought I would see how direct you can go,” Nyman said. “I flew off the jump on Harrier and thought I was going to go into the fence.”
Every person who has ever strapped into a board owes a debt of gratitude to Burton.