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After an Olympic medal, Ryan Cochran-Siegle sets new goal going into Beaver Creek

Ryan Cochran-Siegle

RICHMOND - FEBRUARY 18: Ryan Cochran-Siegle stands for a portrait at his family’s ski area in Richmond, VT on Feb. 18, 2021. Cochran-Siegle, a ski racer from Vermont, comes from a family full of ski racers. His mother, Barbara Ann Cochran is a former World Cup alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist. After a crash in January in the downhill race at Kitzbuehel, Cochran-Siegle suffered a broken neck and will be out for the rest of the season. (Photo by Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Boston Globe via Getty Images

For all Ryan Cochran-Siegle accomplished in one special super-G last season -- coming back from breaking his neck the year before in the world’s most daunting race to winning the U.S.’ lone Olympic Alpine skiing medal -- he prefers to view that winter as a whole.

“It was kind of, I think, still a learning year,” he said in a recent interview. “I realize there was some definitely shortcomings as well [as success] with my races. I think I have a lot more to prove going forward.”

Notably, Cochran-Siegle said his downhill form wasn’t where he wanted it to be. After notching the U.S. men’s first World Cup downhill podium in nearly four years in the 2020-21 season, his best finish in the discipline last season before his Olympic super-G silver medal was sixth at Beaver Creek, Colorado, last December.

“I’d like to get my downhill skiing back to where it was the year prior,” he said. “I ended up doing well by the end of the year, but I think still missing the podium and all that, I’m trying to get more consistent.”

Cochran-Siegle returns to Beaver Creek for the annual Birds of Prey World Cup stop -- airing on NBC Sports and Peacock this weekend -- as the top hope to extend one American streak and to end one American drought.

The U.S. men’s Alpine team notched at least one World Cup podium every calendar year from 1999 through 2021. It was a regularity in the 2000s and early 2010s between Bode Miller and Ted Ligety. It hasn’t happened often recently, and not at all in 2022 with one month left. But there are plenty of opportunities, starting with a super-G on Friday and downhills Saturday and Sunday on home snow.

Americans often post their best results at Beaver Creek. Last year in a super-G, Travis Ganong picked up his first World Cup podium in nearly five years. In 2019, Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup victory in a giant slalom.

But it has been eight years (five races, more specifically) since an American made a downhill podium at Beaver Creek, the nation’s longest drought since it became an annual World Cup stop in 2004.

Cochran-Siegle opened the speed season last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta, by posting the best American finish of ninth in a downhill. It was his best result ever at Lake Louise, but it wasn’t satisfying.

“As a team we recognize today was a little bit of a letdown all said and done,” he said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “I think we’re definitely more capable than that.”

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