Miller to lead ’03 alpine team
Miller, who not only won four World Cup races last season but collected the first U.S. men’s Olympic medals in giant slalom and combined, will be racing in his seventh season on the U.S. team. Rahlves will be in his 10th season on the team as he defends the super-G gold medal he won at the 2001 World Championships in Austria.
The squad also has a distinct Colorado look to it. Vail’s Chad Fleischer will be on hand for his 10th season as he comes back from knee surgery. Local Olympians Sarah Schleper and Lindsey Kildow were also tabbed.
Other Coloradans include Caroline Lalive of Steamboat SpringsJake Fiala of Frisco, Jake Zemansky of Aspen, Katie Monahan of Aspen and Allison Powers of Winter Park.
Among other veterans named to the ’03 alpine squad: Erik Schlopy who battled bronchitis and the lingering effects of mononucleosis last season after his best World Cup winter in 2001; Olympic newcomer Thomas Vonn, who added super-G to his strength in giant slalom; and two more two-time Olympians on the women’s side – Kirsten Clark and Megan Gerety, who has missed last season with knee problems.
Also included on next season’s team are Julia Mancuso, an Olympian at 17, who went on to win three gold medals at the 2002 World Junior Championships and eight other members of the 2002 Olympic Team. It also will be the first time since the 1988 Olympic season that Picabo Street, who retired after the recent Olympics, is not on the U.S. Ski Team.
“This is an outstanding mix of top-level skiers and extremely talented young racers moving up,” Hunt said. “We’ll miss Picabo and her energy, and everything she brought to racing, but we’ve got the talent on both the men’s and women’s teams to improve upon the success of last winter.
“What Bode did was no fluke, just as Clark’s downhill victory the previous season was an indication of her talent. We expect Sarah Schleper will be healthy all season, which means there’s another proven World Cup contender. Caroline’s two podiums last season show she’s knocking on the door to victory and what Julia did at World Juniors was extraordinary, but that’s why – at 18 – she’ll be in her third season on the ski team. This could be quite a season.”
Hunt also said a U.S. Development Team of about 20 promising skiers would be named in the near future.