U.S. Alpine Team far from meeting its goals so far | VailDaily.com

U.S. Alpine Team far from meeting its goals so far

Shauna Farnell
Bode Miller of the United States loses control after hitting a gate and skis out of the course during the Men's Super-G at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Sestriere Borgata, Italy Saturday Feb. 18, 2006. (AP Photo/Andrea Rustioni)

SAN SICARIO, Italy ” The United States is near the top in the medals count so far this Olympics, but the U.S. Ski Team hasn’t made much of a contribution.

The U.S. Snowboarding Team has come through with six medals so far in the Games and Toby Dawson got one in freestyle skiing, adding to America’s total medal count to date “13. The U.S. Alpine Ski Team, however, accounts for just one of those ” Ted Ligety’s surprise gold in men’s combined.

“We’ve still got this event plus both giant slaloms and slaloms,” said United States Ski and Snowboard Association chief Bill Marolt at the women’s super-G, which was postponed Sunday due to poor visibility and snowfall and rescheduled for Monday. “I’m not going to make an evaluation of it until we’re all the way through.”

Before the Games, U.S. Alpine Team director Jesse Hunt pronounced a goal of eight medals for the U.S. Ski Team.

In 2002, the only Olympic medals won by the U.S. Alpine Team were Bode Miller’s silvers in combined and giant slalom. Over the course of the previous two Olympics, the U.S. Ski Team won a total of five medals. Miller, one of the top medal hopes for the team this year, has failed to come through so far, finishing fifth in last week’s downhill (just .30 seconds off the podium), and failing to finish both the combined and super-G.

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A few American skiers have finished top-10 in the first five alpine ski events of these 2006 Games. Daron Rahlves was seventh in super-G and 10th in downhill while Scott Macartney was seventh in super-G. Julia Mancuso took seventh in downhill and ninth in combined and Lindsey Kildow, America’s No. 1 lady’s hope for a medal who was jilted by a bad crash in downhill training, finished eighth in downhill and did not finish in combined.

While top-10 results are highly praised on the World Cup circuit, they mean little in the Olympics realm.

“When you get into the Olympics, it’s only 1-2-3,” Marolt said. “As we all know, it looks like it’s an easy thing to be 1, 2 or 3, but in fact it isn’t.”

That said, the U.S. Ski Team is only halfway through its 2006 Olympic events.

“We still have a long way to go,” Marolt said. “We still have good people lined up.”

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