He appropriately captioned one of his social media posts #groundhogyear.
A mere 12 days before the start of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Utah alpine skier Steven Nyman received official news that the most untimely — and unlucky — of injuries will keep him from his fourth straight Olympic Games appearance.
U.S. Ski and Snowboard announced Monday that the 35-year-old from Provo, who grew up skiing on the runs at Sundance Resort, suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during a training run last Thursday in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Nyman suffered the injury on nearly the exact same date on the exact same course as last year’s season-ending knee injury in Garmisch that resulted in a torn ACL, MCL and PCL tear in his left knee. The soon-to-be-36-year-old crashed into the safety netting in Germany last Jan. 27, putting his 2018 Olympic hopes in question.
After vigorously rehabbing and putting himself on track to return to the World Cup circuit in December, Nyman eventually had his best finish of the year in Kitzbuehel, Austria, in January — a 15th in the men’s downhill that helped him secure a spot on Team USA.
“I was really looking forward to not only representing our country at my fourth Olympics but trying to contend for a medal,” Nyman said in a release. “Unfortunately, a year to the day from my left knee injury, I’ve learned that I’ve completely torn the ACL on my other [right] knee. The good news is that this injury is much more straightforward than last year and will be much easier to come back from.”
In an Instagram post Monday, Nyman said he already has undergone surgery to fix his torn ACL and that he’s going to take aim at competing at the 2019 World Championships in Sweden.
“I’ll be cheering loudly for my teammates and all the athletes in Korea,” Nyman said, “and I know the whole American downhiller crew has the potential to be right in there.”
Nyman officially was named to the U.S. Olympic alpine team Jan. 24. The Utah product has 11 career World Cup podiums and recently finished third overall at the Olympic test event in Jeongseon, South Korea.
“This injury is a huge loss to the ski racing community of America and the U.S. ski team,” U.S. alpine coach Sasha Rearick said. “He’s the leader of our family. He’s been the leader of the downhillers for a long time. I think we take a lot of pride in all of the work he has done, and the leadership he has shown to the team about how to work hard and take it step by step over a 12-month period and actually be in a place where he was ready to compete at the elite level.”
Nyman told reporters during his comeback in the fall about his goal to keep pushing the envelope and ski racing on the World Cup — and potentially at the Olympics — for another cycle, which would have put him at 40 years old at the next Winter Games in China in 2022.
“Why not?” he said.
The Sundance kid faces another long road back to the slopes, this time dealing with the most heartbreaking of circumstances.