Glance at 2014 US Olympic contenders
PARK CITY, Utah – One year out from the opening of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and U.S. skiers and snowboarders are scattered across the globe anticipating the opportunities they will face 365 days from now.
The USA is coming off a Best in the World Olympics in Vancouver that saw 17 different skiers and snowboarders win 21 medals. This year, Lake Tahoe riders will try and top that.
Expect to see some Lake Tahoe and Reno residents at the opening ceremony in Sochi, Russia, on Feb. 7, 2014. Maddie Bowman, Travis Ganong, David Wise and Chas Guldemond will be among them, bringing the Olympics a little closer to the Basin.
“It’s crazy to think that freeskiing is going to be in the Olympics,” Bowman said. “I mean, this is really happening and it’s only a year away. Holy cow.”
2014 marks the first year that halfpipe and slopestyle skiing will be held in the Olympics. Also new, will be women’s ski jumping and slopestyle snowboarding, which is good news for slopestyle champ and Sierra-at-Tahoe rider Jamie Anderson.
Bowman and the rest of the US Team will get a feel for the 2014 Olympic scene this month in World Cup test events in Sochi, and they’ll be keeping an eye on the coutdown.
“I am looking forward to the next 365 days, and the adventure my teammates and I are about to go on,” Bowman said.
Where they are now
Alpine Skiing: Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso, of Squaw Valley, and rookie Mikaela Shiffrin are among the favorites as the U.S. Ski Team opens the 2013 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria. Lindsey Vonn suffered a season ending knee injury in the opening race, but is expected to be back for the Olympic season.
Cross Country Skiing: Fresh from a sprint victory on the Olympic trails near Sochi, Kikkan Randall and company are training in Davos, Switzerland, getting ready for a Feb. 16-17 World Cup then on to the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Freeskiing: Freeskiers are coming off the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix where David Wise and Maddie Bowman swept to halfpipe titles. Athletes are preparing for the mid-February Olympic test events for halfpipe skiing and skicross at Rosa Khutor near Sochi. Slopestyle stars Tom Wallisch, Bobby Brown and Keri Herman appeared live on NBC’s The Today Show Wednesday morning, Feb. 6.
Freestyle: With an all-important Olympic test event coming up mid-February at Rosa Khutor, moguls skiers are preparing at a camp in Steamboat Springs including Olympic champion Hannah Kearney, who swept to a pair of wins last weekend at the Visa Freestyle International at Deer Valley Resort. Aerialists are training at the Utah Olympic Park.
Nordic Combined: Taylor Fletcher was impressive finishing fifth in a hard fought test event last weekend at the RusSki Gorki complex. The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team is taking two weeks off to prepare for the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Ski Jumping: Sarah Hendrickson has three World Cup wins this season, including one on the new RusSki Gorki jumping complex in December. Looking forward to their Olympic debut in Sochi, the women are on a FIS Ski Jumping World Cup swing through Japan where Hendrickson was third in Sapporo last Sunday and jumping in Zao next weekend.
Snowboarding: Top snowboarders are in Laax, Switzerland for this weekend’s Burton European Open, then it’s off to Sochi for halfpipe and SBX test events.