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Travis Ganong is first U.S. male Alpine skier to clinch Olympic spot

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Super-G

BEAVER CREEK, USA - DECEMBER 3: Travis Ganong of USA competes during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Super G on December 3, 2021 in Beaver Creek USA. (Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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Travis Ganong became the first U.S. male Alpine skier to mathematically clinch an Olympic spot, thanks to a third-place World Cup super-G finish two months ago.

Ganong finished 19th in Thursday’s super-G in Wengen, Switzerland, won by budding 24-year-old Swiss Marco Odermatt, the world’s top male skier this season.

It was the last super-G during the Olympic qualifying period that ends after this weekend’s races. Ganong is the lone American man with a World Cup super-G podium this season, so he will be on the Olympic team expected to be announced next week.

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

The U.S. currently has six total Olympic men’s Alpine skiing quota spots to spread across five individual events, but could gain more spots.

Bryce Bennett, the other American to make a podium this season (a Dec. 18 downhill win), and Ryan Cochran-Siegle are all but set to join Ganong in the speed events in Beijing. They will likely clinch after Friday and Saturday’s downhill races. River Radamus is the U.S.’ top giant slalom skier and also expected to be on the team.

Ganong, 33, is headed to a second Olympics.

In 2014, the California native was the promising rookie on the men’s team. Ganong finished fifth in the Sochi Olympic downhill, bettering all of his previous World Cup results.

He followed that with his maiden podium in the first World Cup race after those Olympics. The next season, Ganong earned his first World Cup victory, then took silver in the 2015 World Championships downhill in Beaver Creek.

But Ganong tore an ACL in a downhill crash in Bormio, Italy on Dec. 28, 2017, ruling him out of the 2018 Olympics and ending his season.

The next year, Ganong crashed again in Bormio, this time a training run, injured his knee and sat out that week’s races.

But Ganong came back. On Dec. 3 in Beaver Creek, Colorado, he made his first podium since the 2017 crash and first World Cup podium ever in super-G. He is the highest-ranked American man in the event at No. 8 in the world.

The Olympic super-G medal favorites are Austrians Matthias Mayer (defending gold medalist) and Vincent Kriechmayr (world champion), Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Odermatt.

Previously, Mikaela Shiffrin, Breezy Johnson, Paula Moltzan and Nina O’Brien clinched spots on the U.S. Olympic Alpine skiing team.

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for 2022 Winter Olympics

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