Travis Ganong, set to retire, ends US men’s podium drought in Kitzbuehel

American Travis Ganon appears to be retiring with a podium finish in alpine skiing’s biggest annual race.

Ganong finished third in the famous Hahnenkamm downhill in the snow of Kitzbuehel, Austria on Saturday, a day after saying he planned to retire at the end of this season at 34.

“My goal all season has been to perform here. It’s the biggest race,” said Ganong, who skied ahead Lindsey Vonn and Arnold Schwarzenegger. “If it was my last downhill, I’m pretty happy. I like this hill. My goal is always to win here, but to get on the podium would also be very good.

Alexander Aamodt Kilde won to become first man with five downhill World Cup wins in one season since Austria Stephan Eberharter in 2001-02.

The Norwegian broke a bone in his right hand during training on Thursday and then needed a acrobatic recovery in the race the following day to escape a crash near the end of his run, which he described as “scary”.

French John Clary finished second, 67 hundredths behind. At 42, Clarey broke his own record as the oldest alpine skier to stand on the World Cup podium, doing so for the second time this season.

Ganong was 95 hundredths away from becoming the first American to stand on an Alpine World Cup podium since December 2021. In 2022, no American has made a World Cup podium in a year for the first time since 1998.

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Ganong finished seventh in the first of two Kitzbuehel runs on Friday, after which he announced his intention to retire.

“I’m pretty ready to start doing new things,” Ganong said, according to the Associated Press. “It’s been 18 years on the American team. I’m happy with what I did. I was among the best for a long time.

The career highlight for Ganong, a California native, was winning silver in the downhill at the 2015 World Championships in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It remains the best result in an Olympic downhill or at the world championships for an American since Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves did a double at the 2005 Worlds.

Ganong’s best Olympic result was in his first Olympic race, fifth in the downhill at the 2014 Sochi Games. This is the best men’s downhill result for the United States in the last three Olympics.

Ganong won two World Cups, later in 2014 and then in January 2017. He then tore his ACL in a downhill accident in Bormio, Italy on December 28, 2017, ruling him out of the Olympics. of 2018 and ending this season.

Ganong came back to clinch his fifth and, until Saturday, his last World Cup podium in December 2021, then finished 12th and 20th in two Olympic races last year.

The last American to stand on the Kitzbuhel downhill podium was Miller in 2014. Rahlves is the only American to win a World Cup downhill in Kitzbuhel, in 2003.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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