U.S. Ski Team reflects on recent success at Worlds | SummitDaily.com

U.S. Ski Team reflects on recent success at Worlds

BORMIO, Italy – The U.S. Ski Team left Bormio, Italy, on Sunday after matching its best medal output ever in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, with six medals. While the Americans didn’t reach their goal of eight, officials reflected positively on what was the second-highest medal output of any nation in the 16-day event.Bode Miller (Franconia, N.H.), Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, Calif.) and Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, Calif.) each came away with two medals for the U.S. Ski Team, helping the group match the six-medal performance in the St. Moritz, Switzerland, World Championships two years ago. Miller led by sweeping the gold in the downhill and super-G. Rahlves added silver in downhill plus a surprise bronze in giant slalom. Mancuso came away with a bronze in super G, followed by a bronze in GS – the first U.S. medal in that event in 20 years.”While we didn’t hit our goal, what did really impress me about our athletes was that we were competitive in all 10 events,” U.S. Ski Team alpine director Jesse Hunt said. “And that’s a first for us.”The championships also presented its share of disappointments, including all four U.S. men failing to finish the slalom – despite a stellar first run by Ted Ligety – and Miller failing to finish three of five events.”Those were disappointments for us, but we also had some pleasant surprises,” said Hunt. “Both Julia (Mancuso) and Daron (Rahlves) had been skiing good GS this year, but not at the level where a medal was an expectation. Both of them really stepped up to show what they could do.”Austria, led by nine men’s medals, was the overall leader with 11 medals to six for the USA. Sweden, led by Anja Paerson, had four, including her three gold. Host country Italy had four, with three gold for Croatia from Janica Kostelic. Perennial power Norway won only one medal and Switzerland was blanked.U.S. Ski Team president and CEO Bill Marolt is keeping a close eye on the medals tally at the four FIS World Championships this year as the American team continues to focus on its goal of being “Best in the World in 2006.” U.S. riders won three medals in last month’s Snowboard World Championships in Whistler. The U.S. Ski team is looking at medal opportunities in the next two weeks at the Nordic World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany, primarily in Nordic combined. And the dominating U.S. Freestyle Ski Team has strong opportunities at the Freestyle World Championships later in March in Ruka, Finland.

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