Marco …. Goldo! Sullivan earns first win
Vail CO, Colorado
Any athlete, young or old, in need of some inspiration can latch onto the Marco Sullivan train.
On Saturday, the American skier won his first World Cup race ” a downhill in Chamonix, France, at the age of 27.
Sullivan always has been a great skier, and nearly cracked the Top 5 before injuring his knee at the Birds of Prey World Cup finish area on a showboat move he has long since forgotten.
Sullivan had some decent results his first year back from injury, then seemed on track to break through in the 2006-07 season after placing 10th at the Birds of Prey and fourth at Val Gardena, Italy. The season kind of got away from him, and he headed into the offseason on the heels of his 27th birthday ” a do-or-die time in the alpine world.
But Sully didn’t despair, kept that happy-go-lucky-forever smile on his face and kicked off this season with his first career podium ” a second at Lake Louise, Alberta. He cooled off for a bit but wasn’t about to go away, taking seventh at Wengen, Switzerland, and then sixth at the famed Kitzbuehel, Austria, course. Then came Saturday.
Nothing changes your career like a World Cup victory ” ask any skier, especially Steven Nyman.
So Sully, it’s been a long road, but you finally did it. Congrats, and don’t slow down.
– Speaking of good guys, Daron Rahlves had an impressive showing at the X Games skicross finals, coming up golden. After struggling last year, Rahlves is looking stellar this season, taking second in the opening King of the Mountain in December and then winning his first race Sunday. Buttermilk isn’t quite as steep as Beaver Creek, but the home-soil domination continues for the downhill legend. And even bigger kudos to Rahlves for being a great dad ” he’s making select skicross appearances so he can be back in Truckee, Calif., with the family. Winning is important, but so is parenting.
– Great showing by Chris DelBosco in Sunday’s skicross. Rahlves edged him in the semifinals, but DelBosco shrugged it off and won the consolation.
Making it look easy
It usually isn’t this simple, but when Linsey Vonn wants to improve, she does.
Vonn had some mediocre results in super-G earlier this year, so she went out and had two Top 10’s. Giant slalom has been her weakest discipline, but then she goes out and has a day like Saturday in Ofterschwang, Germany, taking sixth and pulling in the fourth-fastest final run. Her progression, at least in pure results, this year, has been scary.
– I don’t think I expected to see so many people at the Talons Challenge on Saturday at Beaver Creek. When is the last time 2,000 people vowed to ski bumps all day? On a powder-thirsty whim, I decided to duck into some trees, only to be directed back on track by a pine tree. Helmets are good, but they can’t protect your mouth from jagged branches. Oh, and by my count, none of the Talons Challenge participants were on snowblades.
– The X Games are more than just gnar-gnar. While some people think that the X Games’ audience consists of 16-year old kids from Denver, there was evidence to the contrary in the press tent. Among the large media outlets were The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. I wonder if Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. knows what a kangaroo flip is.
– Plenty of good stuff coming up this week with The Pedal Power Snowshoe Adventure Series’ winter triathlon at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center on Saturday. Any event with a 10K snow-bike has to be fun. On Sunday, 4 Eagle Ranch is hosting skijoring practice runs Sunday for a festival of racing it will host later in the month. Chuck Norris’ beard may or may not be competing.
– Oh, in case you didn’t notice, it’s snowing again. Here’s to taking an extra-long lunch break to find your own private stash.