Final alpine slots up for grabs |

Final alpine slots up for grabs

Shauna Farnell
Shauna FarnellA worker builds a stage in the village of Sestriere Colle, Italy, on Tuesday. The area will serve as the venue for the Olympic men's and women's technical ski races.

A race to the finish begins among three members of the U.S. Ski Team to determine the last two spots on the four-man Olympic downhill team. Bode Miller (Franconia, N.H.) and Daron Rahlves (Truckee, Calif.) are shoo-ins. Truckee’s Marco Sullivan has to face off with teammates Steve Nyman and Scott Macartney for the remaing two spots on the downhill course in Sestriere Borgata, Italy, on Thursday and Friday.

Olympic alpine skiing competition manager Gianni Poncet, who also oversees the snowboarding and freestyle venues, said that the downhill course and the rest of the venues have a sufficient amount of snow to compete on. A few weeks ago, the venues were suffering.

The last week of January brought a large snowstorm, and after the melt off, Poncet said the courses are ready to go.

Of the downhill course (where he won the World Cup finals in 2004) Rahlves says …

“It is a good downhill. Because of its slipping turns, it will be important for me to be concentrated and ski very clean.”

Sullivan, on his status of being a contender for a downhill team spot, says,

“It gives me motivation. I joined the team last month. I don’t have big expectations.”

-Whether he regrets his controversial statements over the last few years

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but none of this bothers me very much. I’m not caught by surprise. I would be lying if I said I had massive regrets about the things I’ve said.”

-Whether he is a hypocrite for making money from sponsorship and endorsements when he grew up without running water and electricity.

“I’m not here with bling diamonds, a fur coat and driving around in a really expensive car.”

The Olympic moguls event kicks off on Saturday in Sauze d’Oulx. Shannon Bahrke, of Reno, Nev., took silver in the 2002 event in Salt Lake City, and was training Wednesday on the new course in Sauze d’Oulx, which racers say poses a challenge because the moguls and jumps are tightly packed.

“It’s definitely close,” she said of the course. “I’m optimistic, just got to warm it up and go big.”

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