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More American gold at Golden Peak

US Dsable Ski Dukat BH 3-4 Vail Daily/ Bret Hartman Vail local Sandra Dukat turns by a gate Thursday during the U.S. Disabled Alpine Championship womens super-G on Golden Peak.
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Slackers.

The Americans won “just” nine of 12 medals, including three golds and two podium sweeps, at the U.S. Disabled Alpine Skiing Championships super-G at Golden Peak Thursday.

Wednesday, the Americans went 10-for-12 in downhill.



Tsk. Tsk.

OK, the Americans are rolling and the way they are rolling, they may as well move up Saturday’s giant slalom into today’s day off just to keep the momentum going.



Then again, a team needs a little time to celebrate. And, that celebration was under way Thursday night at U.S. Disabled Ski Team assistant coach John Cole’s house which, for all intents and purposes, is U.S.A. House this week.

“It’s incredible,” Cole said above the din of a happy bunch of American skiers. “We’re really excited for the athletes. It makes us feel great as coaches to see them skiing this well.”

That certainly could be said of the U.S.’ Laurie Stephens, who made it two golds in as many days, winning the women’s monoski downhill Wednesday and the super-G Thursday.



Not too bad considering she thought she turned in a clunker of a run.

“It’s great, guess,” said Stephens. “I actually thought I had a bad run, but I guess it turned out to be OK. I kinda went through it sideways which probably didn’t help my time.”

Stephens’ time of 59.03 seconds was just fine, putting her ahead of teammate Lacey Heward, who finished in 1 minute, 3.97 seconds, good for silver. While Heward picked up her second silver of the Championships, Winter Park’s Tracey Pavlicek took bronze No. 2 in Thursday’s super-G.

Vail’s Gang of Three – Sandy Dukat, Allison Jones, and Csilla Kristof – completed its second straight podium sweep. In Wednesday’s standing downhill, it was Kristof, Jones and Dukat. Thursday in super-G, Jones (59.47), Kristof (1:00.06) and Dukat (1:03.06) went 1-2-3.

Inspection was key for Jones.

“You could tell where you could run it straight,” Jones said. “If you don’t know the hill, Afterthought comes difficult. You don’t know where to go from there. You could tell in inspection that we had a benefit over the other athletes who don’t train here.”

And, a little friendly rivalry among teammates never hurts the cause.

“We’re always cheering each other on,” Jones said. “We know our weaknesses and can help with that aspect. I’m not the best when it comes to tipping down and Sandy can always say something. Then, there is a little edge of competition. You always want get the last edge on what’s been said.”

The U.S.’ Christopher Devlin-Young certainly doesn’t lack for words and he’s earned the right to talk. He picked up his 15th national championship – this one in men’s monoskiing – Thursday, and the experience never gets old for him.

“It feels exactly like the first one. It feels so good,” he said. “I got hurt 22 years ago while in the Coast Guard. My dad was in the military. If I hadn’t got hurt, I would still be serving. Patriotism means so much to me. So, to put on the U.S. uniform and win the national championship is the greatest thing today I can do for my country.”

And, at 42 years young, Devlin-Young is still hungry for more as the Championships continue.

“Me and George Foreman. You’re going to see the Chris Grill,” he joked.

Carl Burnett, skiing for Winter park via Dartmouth College, added super-G silver to downhill bronze with a run of 54.80. Ronny Persson, representing Sweden, finished in third with a time of 55.79.

In the men’s standing super-G, the podium was identical to Wednesday’s downhill. Australia’s Bart Bunting made it back-to-back golds, followed by teammate Michael Milton. The U.S.’ George Sansonetis grabbed bronze.

Today is a weather-contingency day and, since the weather’s held so far this week, it’s a day off for racers, coaches and race workers alike.

Saturday, the Championships continue with giant slalom at 9:30 a.m.


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