After two strong training performances earlier in the week, it was safe to say that Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud was the favorite heading into Saturday’s Olympic downhill test event. The Attacking Viking backed up his training dominance, winning the downhill in Jeongseon, South Korea, with a total time of 1:41.38 seconds. Italian Dominik Paris finished in second place, 0.20 seconds back, and American Downhiller Steve Nyman found the podium for the first time this season, finishing third, 0.41 seconds off of Jansrud’s pace.
The Jeongseon venue was shown to the world for the first time on Saturday, and the action did not disappoint. Fans at the slope in Korea as well as those watching on TV were treated to bluebird skies, great snow, and fast racing down the terrain-filled track. Spectacular jumps and sweeping turns provided for an exciting race, with Jansrud looking strong and just wild enough to pull off his third World Cup win of the season, also crowning him the first downhill winner ever in Korea in the process.
“I’ve got a knack for that this season. I pulled off the parallel in giant slalom, which was the first, so it’s been a season for firsts, I guess, but I’m happy to be back winning for sure,” Jansrud said.
Amazingly, Norway, with all of its winter sport successes, has never won an Olympic downhill gold medal. When asked if there is any pressure on him and his teammates to bring home Olympic downhill gold in 2018, Jansrud acknowledged that when the time comes, the pressure will be on. But for now, he’s happy to enjoy Saturday’s win.
“Not today, but probably in two years,” explained Jansrud. “There are so many medals in Norway for winter sports in general, but also in alpine skiing. There are a ton of hopes in the federation, but also with the people that we are grabbing the downhill gold soon.”
Paris looked to have set the time to beat running bib 17, but was barely able to catch his breath in the leader’s box before being unseated by Jansrud, who wore bib 18. Nevertheless, the big Italian was happy to make his first podium appearance of the season.
“Yeah, I’m very happy. First podium of the season,” Paris said. “It’s very special for me because I was not doing very well in the downhill, and then it’s very good for me. I like the hill, it’s pretty cool. It’s fun, it has a lot of jumps. Also, the snow preparation was very good. It’s a pretty good downhill.”
For Nyman, finally finding his way back to the podium this season after a few less than stellar results was just what he needed to carry momentum into the latter part of the season. Nyman also praised the course preparation and likened it to Beaver Creek, another venue where he has had success.
“It’s very responsive snow,” explained Nyman. It’s been very cold here and dry and the guy who prepped the hill, Tommy Johnson, he preps Beaver Creek, so it’s very similar and a lot of fun to ski on. The racecourse, there’s a lot of flow to it, it’s a lot of fun to ski. You have to be clever when you’re skiing. It’s not controlled by the gate, it’s controlled by the terrain. It makes it a joy to ski.”
Following Nyman in the top 30 for the Americans was new father Andrew Weibrecht in 16th, Marco Sullivan in 18th, and Travis Ganong in 22nd.
Apparently, Ganong reaggravated the bone bruise in his left knee from Kitzbuehel after a hard landing off of the second jump on course and was in pain for the remainder of his run, but was able to finish. The 2015 World Championship downhill silver medalist will get the injury reevaluated and determine the next steps for treatment and rehab.
Racing in Jeongseon continues Sunday with a super G scheduled to start at 12 noon local time, or 10 p.m. EST.
By Hank McKee
- Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
- Paris, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- Nyman, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Fill, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Feuz, Head/Head/Head
- Striedinger, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
- Janka, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
- Theaux, Head/Head/Head
- Baumann, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Fayed, Head/Head/Head
- Men’s World Cup downhill, Jeongseon, Korea, Jan. 6, 2016. … It is the official test run for the Olympic course. … It is the 26th race of the men’s 43 race World Cup schedule. … The eighth of 11 scheduled downhills. … It is the first World Cup downhill to be hosted by Korea. … Downhill standings leader Aksel Lund Svindal is injured and will not race. … His lead over Peter Fill is 121pts.
- It is the 13th career World Cup win for Kjetil Jansrud. … His third win of the season in three different disciplines (parallel GS Alta Badia Dec. 21, combined Wengen Jan. 15 are the other two). … The winning margin is 0.20 of a second. … Top 14 finishers are within the same second. … Top 30 (all scoring skiers) within two seconds.
- It is the 11th career World Cup podium for Dominik Paris. … His first podium of the season, his previous best a fourth in the Wengen DH.
- It is the seventh career World Cup podium for Steven Nyman, all of them in downhill. … It is his first podium of the season and the 18th for the U.S. Ski Team.
- It is the fifth best result of the season for Andrew Weibrecht. … It is the best result of the season for Marco Sullivan. … It is the 10th best result of the season for Travis Ganong. … The ninth best of the season for Erik Guay.
- Marcel Hirscher (did not race) holds the lead of the World Cup overall standings 969-916 over Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race). … Henrik Kristoffersen (did not race) is third overall with 871pts.
- Despite a season-ending injury, Svindal continues to control the downhill standings 436-365 over Peter Fill (fourth in race). … Jansrud sits third with 327pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|18||34||194542||GIRAUD MOINE Valentin||1992||FRA||1:42.60||+1.22||15.04|
|33||43||380292||ZRNCIC DIM Natko||1986||CRO||1:43.63||+2.25||27.74|
|47||48||110324||VON APPEN Henrik||1994||CHI||1:44.68||+3.30||40.69|
|Did not start 1st run|
|51||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|12||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR|