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Another solid day for U.S. team

Having put three Americans in the top 10 Saturday including a third-pace finish from Daron Rahlves, the team “had to setttle” for four in the top 30 Sunday.

In other words, the U.S. Ski Team made itself really feel home at the Birds of Prey this weekend for the first time since the course opened in 1997.

“I think we were all feeling a little confident and at home before (Saturday) so that’s why we saw yesterday happen” said Thomas Vonn early on Sunday. “But, as a team, we all felt pretty good and I think you’re going to keep seeing days like yesterday and, hopefully, today.”

With the exception of Rahlves, that proved to be the case on Sunday. The partisan crowd had big expectations after his bronze in Saturday’s downhill, but the defending world super-G champ tumbled early in his run.

“This week, I did a big turnaround in my skiing, the way I feel,” Rahlves said. “I had some mistakes on the top (Saturday). I was going to hard, pushing it. I settled down and started skiing well. Today started the same way and I didn’t have the chance to settle down and get into it.

“It’s hard to swallow, but I had a great day yesterday. Still, I know I’m skiing really well. To do something like that – a basic mistake – it’s probably the worst thing that could happen. I was ready to do something big today. It’s tough when a ski goes out so early.”

Meanwhile, most of the rest of the team charged toward the top 30, finishes which earn World Cup points. Bode Miller charged his way to the best World Cup, super-G finish of his career in sixth with a time of 1 minute, 19.11 seconds.

“You have to make the right choices,” Miller said. “You make the wrong choice and you’ll be out. That’s why I was surprised I stayed in at the top because I was making bad choices and somehow I was pulling it out.”

Vonn, of Newburgh, N.Y., posted his best World Cup result to date, finishing 13th. Vonn’s better known for his GS skills and the same goes for Erik Schlopy, who finished 22nd in his first World Cup super-G since 1993.

Ironically, many of Schlopy’s firsts in his career have come in the super-G, as opposed to the technical events.

“I have a funny super-G history as I have a lot of funny histories,” Schlopy joked. “My funny super-G history is that my first national championship that I ever won was a super-G. My World Cup points ever scored were in super-G. And I’m the World Pro super-G champion. I am. I’m the reigning World Pro super-G champion. Of curse, I will always be the reigning World pro super-G champion.”

That final line drew laughs, of course, because the World Pro Tour ceased operations in 1997.

Jakub Fiala of Frisco took 26th, while Marco Sullivan ended up in 33rd.

Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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