Vail’s Vonn, Schleper named to Worlds team
PARK CITY, Utah – Vancouver Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller are among 19 athletes named to the 2011 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Team announced Wednesday.
The biennial event opens Feb. 8 and continues through the 20th in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Adding more local flavor to the American squad is Vail’s sarah Schleper. This will be Schleper’s fifth time competing at Worlds. She also missed the event in 1999 and 2007 due to injuries, doubtless the former being more painful as he first appearance at Worlds would have been when Vail hosted.
This is Vonn’s fourth consecutive appearance at Worlds. The last time around, in 2009 in Val d’Isere, France, she took home gold medals in the downhill and super-G.
“I have a lot of confidence in downhill and super G right now and am extremely excited for World Championships,” said Vonn. “Garmisch is a really good hill for me and I’ve had a lot of success there. But the World Championships are unique, you have to be the best on race day – there aren’t second chances.”
The group also features Olympic gold medalists Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso in addition to 15 other 2010 Olympic athletes.
NBC and Universal Sports will carry a full broadcast package of the World Championships. Universal Sports will feature live web streaming of all events plus same day broadcasts on Universal Sports TV. NBC Sports will feature coverage each weekend.
For Mancuso, the event will serve as a continuation of the resurgence she started in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a pair of silver medals to become the most successful female Olympic alpine skier in the U.S. Thus far, she has stood on the 2011 World Cup podium for super-G and downhill, plus added three top-10 results in giant slalom – the discipline that brought her Olympic gold in 2006
Miller will seek to put down runs similar to those that produced a full spectrum of medals in Vancouver and made him a four-time World Champion and two-time World Cup overall champion. He enters the championships having recently landed his sixth podium finish at the Hahnenkamm races in Kitzbuehel, Austria, with a downhill second.
Ligety, a two-time World Cup giant slalom champion and defending World Championships bronze medalist in the discipline, moves into Garmisch having won the first three giant slalom races of the season, a run which started at Beaver Creek. He captured the 2010 World Cup giant slalom title at World Cup Finals held in Garmisch.
Notably absent from the team is Olympic bronze-medalist Andrew Weibrecht, World Cup winner Marco Sullivan and Olympian Alice McKennis of Glenwood Springs, CO. All three are currently sidelined with injuries.
U.S. Ski Team athletes have garnered 65 World Championship medals dating back to 1948. The event will return to America for the first time since 1999 when Vail and Beaver Creek host in 2015.