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Paerson is favored in downhill

Erica Bulman

ARE, Sweden – Steven Nyman had to wait an extra day for his chance at revenge.Thick fog wiped out the men’s downhill Saturday at the world championships, setting up a Sunday doubleheader – the women’s downhill is set for 2 1/2 hours after the men’s event.After crashing on a tricky turn on the Olympia downhill course at last year’s World Cup finals, the 24-year-old Nyman is aiming to get even with the hill.”In downhill, I’m definitely expecting stuff. If there are no medals in downhill, I’ll be disappointed,” said Nyman, who will join American teammates Bode Miller, Marco Sullivan and Scott Macartney in the race. “It’s something I can definitely do, and I’ve proven that this season.”Nyman scored his first career World Cup victory in December in the downhill in Val Gardena, Italy. He had a third-place finish in the Birds of Prey downhill at Beaver Creek, Colo., earlier that month.At last year’s World Cup finals, many skiers struggled with a huge jump at the top of the course. Miller hurt his knee and Olympic champion Antoine Deneriaz suffered a concussion. Nyman was foiled by a banked turn at the bottom.Nyman was just 0.07 behind the leading pace going into the last split – matching Miller, who came down later – when he failed to handle a turn and fell onto his back and out of the race just four gates from the finish.”That’s my nemesis, that little halfpipe turn,” Nyman said.U.S. men’s head coach Phil McNichol described Nyman as “very disciplined, creative and unique.””He’s generally perceived as quiet and reserved, but the guy is gregarious, funny and outspoken,” McNichol said. “He’s got a lot of initiative, is very self motivated. In terms of experience and maturity, he’s ahead of his years.”Nyman is a Mormon, and does not drink alcohol. He comes across as a fun-loving mountain boy, but that hides the toughness he has developed during years of withstanding peer pressure.”Just my religion, me being raised under what I was raised and being surrounded by an environment containing things I don’t participate in,” Nyman said. “You have that pressure to be a part of it when you don’t want to. Mostly drinking. Well, not drinking, but going out. It’s the European culture. I go to a party and people are saying, ‘Have this, it’s a celebration.’ I don’t drink.”Sometimes they look at you. Sometimes they are open to your needs and desires. But everybody always has to question it.”Growing up in Utah, Nyman started skiing at the age of 2 and racing at 8 in Sundance – where he got in shape by mowing Robert Redford’s lawn. He was the world junior slalom champion in 2002. After breaking both legs in separate accidents, he’s become an expert in downhill, which puts less strain on his legs.”He’s won at every level. He was a champion at junior worlds, he won at the Europa Cup level and NorAm Cup level. And now he’s won at the World Cup level,” McNichol said. “It’s been a relatively steep climb.”


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