Olympic champions Bode Miller, Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso and world champion Mikaela Shiffrin lead the roster nominated for the Sochi Olympics on Sunday.
Miller, 36, is the first Alpine skier to make five Olympic Teams and would be the oldest U.S. Alpine skier to compete in the Olympics next month. He owns the most career Olympic medals for a U.S. Alpine skier — five.
Miller is coming off an age-defying weekend in Kitzbuehel, Austria, where he finished third and second in two races and would have taken third in another if not for straddling a gate.
Ligety is going to his third Olympics. The 2006 combined gold medalist is favored in the giant slalom and super combined. In 2013, he became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a single World Championships.
Mancuso, a three-time Olympic medalist, is going to her fourth Olympics. The 2006 giant slalom champion posted her first three top-10s of the season in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, last week but has yet to reach a podium this season.
Shiffrin, 18, is the reigning world and World Cup champion in the slalom. She again leads this season’s slalom standings, making her the gold-medal favorite in the event, and is rising in giant slalom.
The 2010 U.S. Olympic Alpine Team won eight medals, twice as many as any other nation and the most in U.S. history. This year’s team will be missing the injured Lindsey Vonn, who won two of those medals in 2010.
Here’s the U.S. Olympic Alpine Skiing Team:
Erik Fisher — named to 2010 Olympic Team but didn’t compete (broken hand)
Nolan Kasper — 2010 Olympian
Ted Ligety — 2006, 2010 Olympian
Bode Miller — 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Steven Nyman — 2010 Olympian
Marco Sullivan — 2002 Olympian, 2010 Olympian
Andrew Weibrecht — 2010 Olympian
Stacey Cook — 2006, 2010 Olympian
Julia Mancuso — 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Megan McJames — 2010 Olympian
Leanne Smith — 2010 Olympian
Resi Stiegler — 2006 Olympian
Here’s the Olympic Alpine skiing schedule:
Feb. 9 — Men’s Downhill (2 a.m. ET) — Miller is a medal threat. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal is favored.
Feb. 10 — Women’s Super Combined (2 a.m., 6 a.m.) — Mancuso is a medal threat.
Feb. 12 — Women’s Downhill (2 a.m.) — Mancuso and Cook are the top Americans. Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch is favored.
Feb. 14 — Men’s Super Combined (2 a.m., 6:30 a.m.) — Ligety is favored. Miller is a medal threat.
Feb. 15 — Women’s Super-G (2 a.m.) — Mancuso is a medal threat. Swiss Lara Gut is favored.
Feb. 16 — Men’s Super-G (2 a.m.) — Miller and Ligety are medal threats. Svindal is favored.
Feb. 18 — Women’s Giant Slalom (2 a.m., 5:30 a.m.) — Shiffrin is a medal threat.
Feb. 19 — Men’s Giant Slalom (2 a.m., 5:30 a.m.) — Ligety is favored. Miller is a medal threat.
Feb. 21 — Women’s Slalom (7:45 a.m., 10 a.m.) — Shiffrin is favored.
Feb. 22 — Men’s Slalom (7:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m.) — Austria’s Marcel Hirscher is favored.
On Fisher’s head was a new helmet, replacing the one he busted apart in a violent crash while racing on Jan. 26 at a remote French ski area. Fisher broke his right hand in that wreck too, and now, because he was unable to grip his ski pole, he had duct-taped the pole to his hand.
“Everybody skis with injuries,” explained Fisher, a laconic former football player from Idaho. Read more…
If Erik Fisher is deterred from his dream, it won’t be for the lack of a strong grip.
Instead, it will be one slip, fall, or one hundred of a second that does him in.
It might even come down to a matter of an opinion. Read more…