Fiala and U.S. Ski Team to sign posters at Frisco fundraiser
FRISCO – You know some of those guys you see on the Wheaties boxes? They’re going to be in Frisco Thursday.
United States and Olympic Ski Team members Daron Rahlves, Chad Fleischer, Marco Sullivan, Erik Schlopy and possibly Bode Miller will sign posters at Barkley’s West Thursday night as part of a fundraiser for fellow teammate and Frisco resident Jakub Fiala.
Fiala, who was one of the top U.S. finishers in the 2002 Olympic downhill and combined events, had to pay his own way for training this summer, and kicks off this year’s World Cup circuit on Thanksgiving in Lake Louise, Canada.
“The whole team is here to train at Loveland, so it worked out well for my fundraiser,” Fiala said. “They don’t have to pay anything for the summer, so I just asked them to help me out and they said they would.”
As a member of the U.S. B Team, Fiala is responsible for financing his training and traveling in the off season. Now that the winter is underway, the U.S. Team will pay his expenses on the World Cup circuit, which continues Dec. 7 and 8 at Beaver Creek, then in Europe for the rest of the season.
“My goal this season is to be top 30 in the world in downhill and super G by the end of the season,” Fiala said. “That means lots of top 20 and top 15 finishes. There was a lot of pressure (last season) just to qualify for the Olympics, but this year, I’m still up against all the same guys. I’m always trying to ski fast. Every season there’s always a little bit of that pressure.”
Fiala, Fleischer and Sullivan are training in Loveland this week with the speed team before moving to a longer, faster course next week in Beaver Creek. Fiala sustained an ankle injury at the end of last season, but after throwing down some of his fastest times training with new gear in Chile this summer, he said he’s completely healed and stronger than ever.
“It’s perfect,” he said of his ankle. “Training is going well. I’m skiing well. I just got back from Park City, (Utah) doing some physical testing, and everything looked really good. I’m on my new Atomic and Nordica gear, and that is working out well. The World Cup is every weekend for the rest of the winter, then the World Championships in St. Moritz (in February). That will be big. It’s hard to know right now exactly how fast I’m skiing. You never know how you stand at the beginning of the season, or how well everyone else in the world is skiing.”
Olympic collector’s items and memorabilia will be up for auction Thursday and Fiala and his teammates will be on hand all night for autograph signing.
“It’s very exciting to have them here, especially if you’re into ski racing and the Olympics,” said Dan Fallon, owner of Barkley’s. “It’s become kind of a niche thing. It’s not every day you have a bunch of World Cup athletes hanging out. It’s nice to know these guys are mortal, and to be able to translate the guy ripping through your TV into the guy standing next to you in the form of Daron Rahlves.”
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