The top American finisher in Friday’s Birds of Prey World Cup downhill at Beaver Creek, which was won by Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, was Andrew “Warhorse” Weibrecht, who tied for fifth.
That bodes well for Weibrecht in Saturday’s super-G since that’s arguably his best discipline — having twice won Olympic medals in the event (bronze at Vancouver in 2010 and silver at Sochi in 2014). Two other Americans, Travis Ganong (12th) and Steve Nyman (15th), cracked the top 15.
Even though he’s never even been on a podium in the World Cup, Weibrecht has great history at Beaver Creek, where he vaulted from a start position in the 50’s to claim 10th in a downhill in 2008.
Saturday’s super-G is set for 11 a.m. Here’s the full press release from the U.S. Ski Team:
BEAVER CREEK, CO (Dec. 4, 2015)—Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) reminded ski racing fans that he is still a threat in downhill, tying for fifth place after starting 34th at the Birds of Prey downhill. Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) and Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) both grabbed top-15 spots, taking 12th and 15th, respectively.
The Norwegians, better known as the Attacking Vikings, were unstoppable during Friday’s downhill with Aksel Lund Svindal taking his third win in as many speed events. His teammate Kjetil Jansrud was just behind him in second with Guillermo Fayed of France in third. “I think his wax technician crushed it,” said Ganong of Svindal’s run. “He was six to eight tenths ahead on the top flat which is unheard of. Steve Nyman is the best starter and glider in the world and he got beat by three tenths on the top.”
Overshadowed by the top 30 having finished, the crowd seemed to forget about Weibrecht. He had been on course for 30 seconds before the camera at Beaver Creek panned back to his run on the jumbotron. When he came down in fifth, he pumped his chest, stoked about the result—his best World Cup downhill finish.
“That run felt good. I was definitely hanging it out. A couple of times, I didn’t know if I gave away too much or risked a little too much, but I guess it was right in there,” said Weibrecht after his run. “I skied the way I wanted to all the way down.”
Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, CA) also attacked from the back, skiing from bib 53 to take his first-ever World Cup points by finishing 29th. “I haven’t scored World Cup points yet and that has been something I’ve wanted to do—almost too much,” said Bennett. “I had a few mistakes, but I just put everything into it. It was good to get a reward.”
Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT) was just out of the points, finishing 31st. Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) DNFed.
The speed team returns on Saturday to race super G at Beaver Creek. Catch it on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra starting at 1 p.m. ET.
That run felt good. I was definitely hanging it out. A couple of times, I didn’t know if I gave away too much or risked a little too much, but I guess it was right in there. That top is always tough—it’s super windy up there today so it’s a little bit of a crapshoot. But I skied the way I wanted to all the way down. Travis [Ganong] gave a great report, and said that things were running a faster tempo than they had been in the previous days. It was definitely icier and a little more rattly and just stuff was coming at you. The bumps were kicking you a little more than they had in the previous days. It was the perfect report—got me in the mindset and I just sent it. It’s just nice to get a good, solid result at the beginning of the season. To be in the top 10 in one of the first three races is great. My big confidence boost in downhill in Lake Louise last weekend was just being in the points. This is huge. This gets me back in the top 30 and makes a big difference moving forward.
It was pretty fast and totally different than the training run. It was a wild ride and I definitely missed the timing in a couple places. I got pushed off line and had to make little adjustments—that’s not fast. It was tough but it was still fun. Tomorrow is a different day—a different track and it won’t be as slick tomorrow. We’ll be back to grippy snow.
I can’t wait to go again tomorrow and it will be really fun to get another super G result. Hopefully I’ll get an early start number—that’s key here.
I was nervous all day—just scared to commit to my line. I knew it would be a fast one. I haven’t scored World Cup points yet and that has been something I’ve wanted to do—almost too much. But if you committed to the course, it was perfect and you could just pipe turns. I had a few mistakes, but I just put everything into it. It was good to get a reward. I am able to compete with these guys and I can put runs down. All summer I’ve been just chipping away, chipping away, chipping away. It was bound to come, but it was good to confirm it. It’s going to be even better moving on.