By ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer
LA VILLA, Italy (AP) – There is nothing easy going from a top junior skier to a World Cup competitor.
Just ask River Radamus, the runner from Colorado who won three gold medals at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games and four medals (two gold and two silver) at the world junior championships. from 2017-2019.
Radamus, 23, has pushed his body to the limit this season, and the results are starting to come in, just in time for the Beijing Olympics in February.
Radamus equaled his career-best World Cup result skiing with lower right leg pain to finish sixth in Alta Badia’s demanding giant slalom on Sunday.
He also placed sixth in the season opener giant slalom in SÃ¶lden, Austria, in October.
âAnytime you can come here and do two races together it feels good. I love this hill and finishing sixth here is huge for me,â said Radamus, who placed fourth in the first run with the bib n Â° 18. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction. I take the points, take the result and keep moving forward.
The Gran Risa has everything a giant slalom should offer: steep slopes that meander through the woods at the start, 180 degree turns and even integrated rollers and flatter terrain towards the finish which sometimes results in small jumps.
It is also a long course, leaving the runners breathless towards the finish.
This may have been a factor when Radamus crossed the finish line in his first run by crouching deeply, barely keeping him together as he lost control and then sped into the finish zone, this which caused him a leg problem.
âI was pushing him, pushing him, pushing him. I knew the last gate could be a problem, but I really wanted to put everything aside, push as hard as possible, âhe said. âI came across this thing a little surprised and a little wild, but all I had in my head was, ‘Cross that line. âI just managed to do it and obviously it paid off for me.
He wasn’t too bothered by the pain in his leg.
âIt’s nothing too serious, it’s just something that is bothering me right now,â Radamus said.
Radamus was inspired by the first career victory of his American teammate Bryce Bennett a day earlier in the downhill from Val Gardena.
“It turned a lot of heads, but it also gives (the whole) American team a little bit more confidence,” Radamus said. âWe’ve been around this guy. We know what he went through to get to where he is and we know we can do it too. We feed each other. “
Alta Badia is where Radamus won his first World Cup points three years ago.
âEveryone will tell you this is the best GS track. So I consider it almost a religious experience to come here, âhe said. âYou have to pay homage to the hill so I always want to come here and really perform, have a good race and do it justice.
âIf I had to design a GS, I would design something like this. It’s just perfect.
Radamus was in the race for a race won by Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen ahead of overall World Cup leader Marco Odermatt.
âStarting with my idols and the sports titans. â¦ It’s definitely a cool feeling and I want to go back more often and be able to compete with these guys, because I feel like I can, âRadamus said.
He can aim for a new career record in another GS scheduled for the Gran Risa on Monday.
Bode Miller (2002) and Ted Ligety (2010 and 2012) each had memorable victories on the Gran Risa. Another American skier who has performed well recently at Badia is Tommy Ford, who finished fifth in 2018 and 2020.
âDuring my time training with Ted and racing by his side, he gave us a lot of wisdom on this hill and expertise,â Radamus said. âWe have Tommy hanging out right now. He is recovering from an injury. So we use him as a huge resource of knowledge, because he also masters this hill.
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