letes must not only attend the bib draw, but also must be there 15 minutes early. With bib 16
he wouldn’t be called to actually appear until maybe 30 minutes after the draw started. Miller
was three minutes late for being 15 minutes early and was chastised, fined and sent away.
He later learned he would start 46th and not 16th. He was not a happy guy.
Nature has no affinity one way or another toward Garmisch, but there is a tendency for the
site to hold fog, which it did on race day.
With the thickest of the fog on the highest parts of the two-mile course, officials chose to
use the super G start, cutting four-fifths of a mile from the track and creating a very different
test. “When you are pushing on a sprint like this,” said Canadian coach Paul Kristofic, “you
have to risk everything and sometimes when you do that, you make mistakes.”
When Guay took to the course, he was brimming with confidence, his skis were running
better than they had all season, and he was executing. Entering one of the remaining fea-
tures, the Eishang, he said, “I had a great line and thought I was pulling it off perfectly and
then I just booted out; my boot hit the ground, and I fell on my side.”
A hip check is not fast and he said he felt at that instant that his race was over. In the next
instant he was back over his skis and realized, “I probably can make that next gate.” Given
the same scenario 20 times, he said it was doubtful he could duplicate the save, “but I pulled
it off and actually had some pretty good speed coming out.” His confidence wasn’t shaken,
but his chances for the win were, and he knew it. “It’s such a short downhill and every little
mistake counts quite a bit,” said Guay. “I knew I had some time to make up.”
Over the bottom of the course, through turns that had been filled with ice balls in training
and were a consternation to most of the competitors on race day, Guay crushed it. Though
he said he was surprised to see he was in the lead at the bottom, he was spectacular from
his Eishang gaffe to the finish.
Minutiae were critical in this race. The top 30 skiers finished within a second of Guay’s
time. The master of downhill minutiae is Didier Cuche and he had just proved as much in
the sprint downhill at Kitzbuehel held in a snowstorm. And Cuche had an incentive. When
Guay won the gold medal last season at Garmisch, Cuche had gotten the silver in what he
knew would be his last world ski championship. He was 0.32 of a second behind in 2011. In
2012, on his victory lap of the World Cup, Cuche got the win by 0.27, giving him victories in
both of the downhills held since announcing his pending retirement.
At the start there were some stressful moments while coaches ran for a back up pair of
goggles to replace a set that steamed over, but Cuche appeared as cool and collected as
ever once on course. Even through the section where a hole on course had kept him from
completing the first training run, Cuche skied smoothly and cleanly to extract a bit of re-
Cuche appeared cool and collected on course and off.
Guay’s hip check was enough
to cost him the victory.