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Bryce Bennett grabs stunning World Cup downhill win

Bennett stuns World Cup in Val Gardena downhill
Bryce Bennett wins the World Cup downhill in Val Gardena, Italy from bib No. 34, snapping a two-year winless streak for U.S. men in Alpine skiing and bumping Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Marco Odermatt down the podium.

Bryce Bennett delivered the first World Cup win for a U.S. male Alpine skier in two years and his first top-five finish in just as long.

Bennett, a two-time Olympian, won in Val Gardena, Italy, from bib No. 34 on Thursday. The top-ranked skiers all go in the first 30.

Bennett overtook reigning World Cup downhill season champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway by three hundredths of a second. World champion Marco Odermatt of Switzerland was bumped down to third, five hundredths back.

Bennett ended the longest U.S. men’s Alpine World Cup victory drought since a gap from 1995 to 2000.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Bennett was also the most recent American man to win a World Cup, doing so at the same Val Gardena downhill in December 2021. That was his only previous World Cup podium.

“This place just puts me in a good mental place. It relaxes me,” the 6-foot-7 Bennett told Austrian broadcaster ORF.

In the last two years, Bennett’s best World Cup finish was seventh going into Thursday. He called the 2022-23 season “a complete disaster” after placing 35th in the downhill standings.

“This season I really want to move it forward,” he said. “I want to move it forward to Bormio, to Wengen, to Kitzbühel, to Chamonix, and just really have competitive runs all season long. Because if I get the downhill globe, you will never see me ever again. I am boots off in the finish, on a plane, fishing boat, Mexico.”

The last time a skier won a World Cup downhill outright with a higher start number was Slovenian Martin Cater from No. 41 in December 2020.

Between Mikaela Shiffrin’s win last week and Bennett on Thursday, the U.S. won the season’s first men’s and women’s downhills for the second time (2004: Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller).

The men race a super-G in Val Gardena on Friday and another downhill on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.