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.
The original article can be seen here.
He finished first, beating a stellar international field, as well as Team USA superstar Bode Miller.
Fisher is looking to make his second Olympic appearance at the Sochi games, and turned many heads with his performance after an injury-riddled season that kept him on the sidelines last year.
Read the full story here…
Other Americans in the top ten included Jared Goldberg in fifth and Chris Frank in tenth.
Ryan Semple was the top Canadian in sixth place, 0.57 seconds off the leading pace.
A pair of Russians led the women’s race as Maria Bedareva took the win with a time of one minute, 5.73 seconds ahead of teammate Elena Prosteva in second, 0.81 seconds back. Austrian Greta Small was another 0.14 seconds back in third place.
Madison Irwin led the Canadians in fourth, ahead of Julia Roth in fifth.
Lauren Samuels and Paula Moltzan led the American charge in sixth and seventh, respectively.
NorAm racing in Nakiska continues tomorrow with another pair of super G races.
Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller may be the most popular U.S. skiers in the world these days – but if you canvas ski fans in Armenia, the tiny mountainous country that sits on the doorstep of Asia – they’ll tell you US Ski Team speed specialist Erik Fisher is Number One on their list.
Fisher’s special relationship with Armenia began this past spring while visiting his sister Carlie, who was there serving on a church mission. He says his initial interest in the country grew out of her experience.
“My sister has fallen in love with the Armenian people and my love for Armenians has stemmed from her love. The people in Armenia took very good care of her while she was there and that means so much to me. Having spent some time in Armenia and in their homes I was able to develop a special relationship with them.”
During the trip Fisher’s natural skier curiosity drew him to some of the former Soviet Republic’s numerous ski resorts. After visiting Tsakhkadzor, a ski resort that neigbours a 1000-year-old mountain-top monastery, just north of Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan, Fisher was made aware of a serious need for ski equipment – especially among the country’s youth.
Now, the Boise, Idaho native says he is on his own mission of sorts – to help the country’s less fortunate and financially challenged young skiers hit the slopes with the gift of free equipment from America.
“I met with Gagik Sargsyan, the head of the Armenian Ski Federation, and he mentioned the lack of ski equipment in Armenia. We started talking and decided that something needed to be done about this issue.”
When Fisher returned to Idaho he approached the Bogus Basin Ski Foundation (his local ski club) and asked if they would be interested in sending any equipment left over from their annual ski swap (which happened this past weekend) to needy ski enthusiasts in Armenia. Fisher says they loved the idea and now a substantial shipment of skis, snowboards, boots, poles and other related accessories are being packed for shipment overseas for a new life on snowy slopes just a stone’s throw from Mount Ararat – the same place Noah parked his Ark after 40 days and 40 nights of biblical precipitation.
“The cost of shipping is the only hurdle we have to overcome. We have some good ideas of how to come up with the cost, but any help we can get from big companies or from individuals will help,” Fisher says.
Shuffling ski gear around is something the 25-year-old Olympian also known as The Flying Fish is quite familiar with. When he’s not tearing it up on the World Cup tour, Fisher runs Skodeo.com, an online business that helps snow sport aficionados sell and trade unwanted equipment. Fisher says he’s glad he can give back to the ski community – even if the community he’s helping out is half a world away.
“These people were so happy and cheerful about life when they had so little. They opened up my eyes to what is truly important in life. I would love nothing more then to spread the stock of skiing in Armenia!”
Fisher says his relationship with his new-found Armenian ski cousins will be a lifelong one, and even plans to strap on skis in the land of Noah’s Ark someday himself.
“Tsakhkadzor was nice and had some decent terrain. They actually have a FIS legal GS on the hill. I wasn’t able to ski it on this trip, but did have the chance to ride up the chair lift and checked it out. I don’t have any immediate plans of going back but I have been keeping in contact with some friends over there and they want me to come back. I will make it back to Armenia for sure at some point and hopefully one day I’ll even get to ski there.”