It was evident in the finish that Kostelic was in pain. Leaning heavily on his ski poles,
he made it onto the finish podium for awards, then went off for an MRI. Within 24 hours
he had surgery in Basel, Switzerland.
A team release read: “Ivica had a tiny piece of his torn medial meniscus in a right knee
removed as it had been causing pain and preventing the full extension of the knee in
question. The teams of doctors in Basel believe the meniscus’ tear was caused when
landing after the high jumps during the downhill in Sochi, and that during the super-combined slalom the said piece of meniscus simply fell off because of the rotations.
The encouraging news is that the condition of the anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage in Ivica’s right knee is satisfactory and that the cartilage is recovering better than
expected.” It is possible he can return to competition this season.
Although the pre-Olympic events at Sochi ended on this low note, the organizers and
the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were pleased with the races.
IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy described the venue as
“one of the most spectacular downhill courses on the World Cup circuit.”
Dmitry Chernyshenko, Sochi 2014 President and CEO, said: “It has been thrilling to
see world-class winter sport on Sochi’s Olympic slopes this week. We have remained
on the right track during our planning and construction to date, with today marking the
exciting transition to the readiness phase where we will robustly test our venues to
guarantee we are fully prepared for 2014.”
Sochi passed the first test.
Benjamin Raich had one of his
better slalom runs this season.
Rehabbing racer and Fantasy Ski Racer creator Steven Nyman offers his insight on what the Olympic downhill at Sochi is really like. Check out Steven’s FantasySkiRacer.comInjured U.S. downhiller Steven Nyman can of- ten be found in the video room. “I could pore over video all night long,” he recently said of studying races and racers in order to improve his own rac- ing. “There are little, little things you can do that make a big difference.”
Armed with that knowledge, we were interested in what the co-owner of Fantasyskiracer.com saw when he watched
the coverage of the men’s downhill on the 2014 Olympic course at Sochi.
“It has big airs, high speeds, big turns and it’s really technical up top,” he said. “It’s very, very attractive,” he said.
Asked about comments from the field about the super G-like turns high on the course, Nyman said: “Everybody
complained about how tight the turns were [at the top of the course] but I can’t imagine them changing it up too
much. It’s steep up there. Right out of the gate they got hauling. And then it turned into a REAL downhill. It’s two and
a half miles and they’re finishing in 2: 15, so they’re averaging something like 75 miles per hour. It’s really fast. It’s a
good, challenging course, unlike most Olympic downhills in the past. This one looks legit. I can’t wait to get on it.”
Nyman added that he liked the micro terrain where it seemed one could really make up speed. “[Winner Beat]
Feuz and [runner-up Benjamin] Thomsen, at the bottom they were doing something no body else was doing,” he
said. “You couldn’t see it because of the camera angles, but those fine little lines make a difference.”
Nyman said that Thomsen had his skis prepared by Didier Cuche’s rep. “I’ve always thought skis are so similar
these days that they can’t make that much difference, but apparently I’m dead wrong,” said Nyman. “Thomsen is
a very, very good skier. I’ve always trained with him in Portillo.”
Getting back to Sochi, Nyman said the reports on social media have intrigued him. “All the photos from the guys
on Twitter and Facebook and stuff showing guys with machine guns looking down the valley and it’s all construction
cranes and high-rise hotels,” he said. “Everybody says it has such amazing potential for a resort. To go from the
Black Sea to the mountains in an hour. ... I’m excited to ski it.”