Silver-medaling Didier Cuche
still had enough energy for his
trademark ski flip.
The softer conditions made the bronze-medal performance of Christof Innerhofer all the more amazing. Without much in his bag but a growing reputation for winning training runs, Innerhofer had won gold
in the super G under the nastiest of race conditions the “Canadahar” had presented at this championship. To then pick up a second medal on the transformed course was not totally expected.
“I’m happy on these two medals,” he said. “Everything else is a cherry on the cake.”
As it turned out, he would get to eat his cake, and have the cherry too.
Bode Miller, meanwhile, had based his preparation around the course being icy and hard — and the
soft snow thwarted that plan. He worked his line as much as possible, but from the 22nd start he had
“I knew I had to ski a tighter line than everybody else and be a little bit more aggressive,” said Miller.
“If your skis are really fast on a day like today, it’s easy. But in a World Championship you don’t want to
leave that to chance; you want to take as much of that into your hands as you can.”
He got caught trying to cut off the line and slipped to his hip, a moment he said he didn’t think cost him
all that much. “I made a great recovery and then I gassed it from there down,” said Miller. “I’m happy
with the way I skied. I was pushing the line and was cutting off line almost every section of the course.
My legs had good power; I felt strong all the way to the finish and I was a little concerned about that,
because it’s been so bumpy.”
He said his16th-place finish was disappointing. “But some days in ski racing there’s just not much else
you can do,” he said. “I felt like I gave it everything.”
Nyman got 13th, marking the first time he had beat Miller in downhill since November 2007, when he
was second at Beaver Creek. Nyman said he felt he had squandered a great opportunity.
“I definitely had an advantage starting earlier (bib No. 5); that’s why I’m a little bummed because I had
a great opportunity to do well,” said Nyman. The result will help his international rankings, but that, he
said, wasn’t the idea.
“World Champs is about medals,” he said. “I was charging; that was the main thing.”
The other U.S. finisher was Travis Ganong, who will remember the race for a while just for the titanium
plate and screws that were required to put his hand back together. With his seventh place in the final
training run, and determining he could milk more speed out of a turn above a flatter section, Ganong
was primed to deliver a career run. Instead, he slammed his hand into the base of a gate where he was
looking to squeeze the line, and broke his thumb.
“I was just pushing it trying to get a little extra line and felt it immediately,” said Ganong. “I lost my pole,
then went to grab it back and couldn’t grip it at all. I was holding it with two fingers trying to tuck.”
It was his first world championship, and he was definitely excited to be playing. “I learned a lot,” he said.
“I know what it takes to win here and I have the speed, I know that. I can’t wait till the next ones.”
Men’s Combined, Feb. 14
For Innerhofer, the cherry on the cake came in the combined — but the win went to Aksel Lund Svindal, the only skier of the championships to successfully defend a crown.