Nyman crashes in downhill practice, pulls out of race

United States' Steven Nyman reaches the finish area after falling during an alpine ski, men's World Cup downhill training, in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

Steven Nyman crashed in downhill training on the Kandahar course for the second year in a row

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany — Steven Nyman crashed in downhill training on the Kandahar course for the second year in a row.

This time, though, the American skier escaped relatively unharmed.

Nyman had to end his season early last year when he crashed in downhill practice on Jan. 27 last year. On Friday, he went into the net before pulling himself up and skiing down the mountain. He said he felt a tweak in his right knee.

He will skip Saturday's World Cup event, the last downhill race before the Olympics next month.

"He's just going to rest his body for the Olympics. Eyes on the prize," United States ski team press officer Megan Harrod told The Associated Press.

Nyman wasn't sure exactly what had caused him to skid off.

"Maybe I pushed too hard at one point. It's kind of a peely snow - it's hard underneath but then a wet layer on top. I think I pushed too hard and just kind of did the splits. It was weird," he told AP.

The incident brought back memories of Nyman's accident in Garmisch-Partenkirchen last year, when he was having the fastest run of the day until he crashed off a jump and tore his left knee. He had to be airlifted off the course.

Nyman, 26th in practice on Thursday, has been working hard to get back this season, placing 41st at a downhill in Val Gardena, Italy, in December, then 28th in Wengen, Switzerland, two weeks ago. He was 15th in Kitzbuehel, Austria, last week and 32nd in the super-G the day before.

Nyman's girlfriend, Charlotte Moats, gave birth to the couple's first daughter, Nell, last June, and she played a huge role in helping with his recovery from left-knee surgery. He said before that she helped prevent him from over-training and pushing too hard to get back too quickly.

But time on the slopes is what counts now with the Olympics only two weeks away. Nyman is captain of the United States downhill squad.

"I haven't really skied all too much this year, so to do well tomorrow would be a huge boost of confidence," Nyman said before he pulled out. "Kitzbuehel was a huge confidence-boost as well."

Nyman has 11 World Cup podium finishes but the last of his three victories was in Val Gardena in December 2014. His last podium was on the same course two years later.

Asked if the political situation and tensions in the region were having any effect on his preparations for the Pyeongchang Games, Nyman said he was learning to shut a lot of things out.

"I live over here all winter. I rent a place in Innsbruck (Austria) for three months out of the year, so to be over here and not be super-fluent in German, you kind of learn to not listen to a lot of things," Nyman said. "It's pretty nice."

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