Locals to compete at World Championships | VailDaily.com

Locals to compete at World Championships

Daily Staff Report

World Cup points leader and double Olympic medalist Bode Miller (Franconia, N.H.) and defending super-G champion Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, Calif.), and Kirsten Clark (Raymond, Maine), who has had three top-3s this winter, are among 17 athletes named Monday.

In announcing the team of nine men and eight women, U.S. alpine director Jesse Hunt said the team includes 15 2002 Olympians, including all nine men. The championships begin Sunday in St. Moritz with the men’s super-G and run through Feb. 16.

“I’m really pleased all of these athletes made the Worlds Team on their World Cup results. They’ve stepped up and this shows the across-the-board depth on both the men’s and women’s teams,” Hunt said. “We’ve got a great chance to come out of Worlds with the best results in many years. We’re going to St. Moritz to win medals in men’s and women’s.”

Miller, who won two Olympic silver medals a year ago, is the first U.S. man to lead the World Cup standings in 20 years. The Carrabassett Valley Academy in Maine product has won two races this season, giving him six victories in two years. Rahlves, a Green Mountain Valley School grad, won the fabled Hahnenkamm downhill Saturday in Kitzbuehel, Austria, and another downhill Dec. 29 in Bormio, Italy, in addition to three other top-3s. In 2001, he stunned the Austrian crowd by collecting the super-G gold medal at the World Championships in St. Anton. Clark, another CVA product, has been on three downhill podiums.

Schleper raced for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, and had one of the best finishes of her career this season with a fifth place. In 2001, Schleper finished second in a slalom in Italy. The 23-year-old raced in the World Championships in 2001, but did not finish in both the giant-slalom and slalom races.

The men’s U.S. Ski Team, which was named based on results in international races, includes: Miller, a 1998 and 2002 Olympian; Rahlves; 1998 and 2002 Olympian; Jake Fiala, a 2002 Olympian from Frisco; Chip Knight, a 1998 and 2002 Olympian from Stowe, Vt.; Tom Rothrock, a 2002 Olympian from Cashmere, Wash.; Erik Schlopy, a 1994 and 2002 Olympian from Park City, Utah; Dane Spencer, a 2002 Olympian from Boise, Idaho; Marco Sullivan, a 2002 Olympian from Squaw Valley, Calif.; and Thomas Vonn, a 2002 Olympian from Newburgh, N.Y..

The womens’ team includes: Clark, a 1998 and 2002 Olympian; Kristina Koznick, a 1998 and 2002 Olympian from Burnsville, Minn.; Caroline Lalive, a 1998 and 2002 Olympian from Steamboat; Libby Ludlow, from Bellevue, Wash.; Julia Mancuso, a 2002 Olympian from Olympic Valley, Calif.; Jonna Mendes, a 1998 and 2002 Olympian from Heavenly, Calif.; Schleper, a 1998 and 2002 Olympian; and Resi Stiegler, from Jackson Hole, Wyo.

HEAD: Dawson named to freestyle team for Worlds

PARK CITY, Utah – Nineteen athletes, including Vail’s Toby Dawson, were named Monday to represent the U.S. Ski Team at the 2003 International Federation of Skiing Freestyle World Championships, freestyle program director Polly Jo Clark said.

Led by seven 2002 Olympians, the team will be competing in Park City, Utah at the highest-level single event outside of the Olympics. The World Championships will include moguls, dual moguls (not an Olympic event) and aerials on the same sites as the 2002 Olympics at Deer Valley Resort. Competition gets under way today with the qualifying round for moguls.

“Most of the athletes on the Worlds team have found success this season on the World Cup and that can’t be a bad thing as we return to our backyard,” Clark said. “Overall, it also is a young team as this will be, for some, their first World Championships and that creates a lot of good excitement throughout. They all can do it on any given day, as we’ve witnessed.”

The team has collected 19 podiums and five victories this season, and features: Olympic silver medalists Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, Calif.), also leading the women’s mogul World Cup standings; Travis Mayer (Steamboat Springs), second in the men’s World Cup standings ahead of teammates Dawson and Travis Cabral (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.), who are third and fourth respectively; Joe Pack, of Park City; and 1998 Olympic gold medalist and 1999 world champion Eric Bergoust, has collected 19 podiums, including five victories, this season.

NBC will televise coverage from the Worlds Saturday, Feb. 1 from 2-4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 2 from 11:30 a.m. –1:30 p.m. (all times are mountain standard).

This is the second time freestyle World Championships have been held in the United States. Lake Placid, N.Y., hosted in 1991 when U.S. skiers won seven medals, including three gold. The U.S. Team leads the medal count with 41, including 16 gold, since the Worlds first debuted in 1986.