Sullivan injures knee during training |

Sullivan injures knee during training

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

USSA reports

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. Ð Olympian Marco Sullivan of Squaw Valley seriously injured his right knee Thursday when he crashed during a training run for the Chevy Truck Birds of Prey World Cup races. He will not race on the weekend.

“The prognosis is not favorable but the doctors have not fully evaluated the injury,” Melinda Roalstad, medical director for the U.S. Ski Team, said after Sullivan, 23, was taken to the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic at Vail Valley Medical Center.

Thursday was the lone training run on Birds of Prey after a transportation mixup caused a delay in all nation’s skis arriving at this resort about 100 miles west of Denver. Hermann Maier of Austria led the training run while Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), who was third last season in the Birds of Prey DH, was fifth Thursday.

“This is a real downhill,” Rahlves said. “It’ rough and very challenging. Beaver Creek is the full package…

“Things are starting to roll right now,” he said, noting that finishing second overall in World Cup downhill standings for the 2003 season gave him great confidence. He said he was hoping to duplicate World Cup leader Bode Miller’s (Franconia, NH) showing in Park City, Utah, where he won the giant slalom.

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The Wednesday training run was wiped out by the late equipment arrival and when the International Ski Federation (FIS) shifted a downhill to Friday at Beaver Creek from Val d’Isere, France, because of poor snow, there was time for only one training run; so, Beaver Creek will host DHs Friday and Saturday plus a super G Sunday.

What was to have been a duel for the final starting spot in the two downhills between Bryon Friedman (Park City, UT) and Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) turned into a moot issue. Friedman had a faster time than Macartney but because of Sullivan’s mishap, both Friedman and Macartney Ð who, coincidentally, are rooming together and both attend Dartmouth College Ð will race in both downhills.

The U.S. Ski Team will start seven athletes in each downhill and seven in Sunday’s super-G. In addition to Rahlves, Friedman and Macartney, the downhill starters include: World Cup leader Bode Miller (Franconia, N.H.), Jake Fiala (Frisco, Colo.), Nor AM downhill champ Wade Bishop (Winter Park, Colo.) and Kevin Francis (Bend, Ore.), ’03 Nor Am downhill runnerup.

In the super-G, the Ski Team will start Miller, Rahlves, Fiala, Dane Spencer (Boise, ID), Thomas Vonn (Newburgh, NY), Macartney as the defending Nor Am super G champion with an automatic start spot, .

The race will be available on a same-day webcast at The regularly scheduled Beaver Creek downhill will be seen on NBC Dec. 21, with the super G on ESPN on Dec. 11.

Lake Louise: Women Ready for Speed

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta- After three days of downhill training runs, the women’s alpine World Cup tour is ready for the first speed races of the new season. The U.S. Ski Team will start nine women in the two downhills and eight in the super-G Sunday.

Outdoor Life Network will broadcast downhill coverage from Lake Louise Saturday with a re-broadcast Sunday.

U.S. women, in particularly Lindsey Kildow (Burnsville, MN) and Bryna McCarty (Concord, VT), produced some fast time in the three days of training. Kildow had two top-5s and another top-15 while McCarty, who scored her first World Cup points at Lake Louise a year ago, was third in one of the runs, 14th in another.

“It’s good to finally be racing,” U.S. DH/SG Head Coach Alex Hoedelmoser said after the final training run. “It was like this was never going to get here. We’re all glad to be racing.

Final training run was “the real deal”

At the same time, Hoedelmoser said weather forecasts called for more snow, possibly starting Friday, so conditions could change from day to day.

“The last two days have been interesting. [Wednesday] we had new snow – about 30 centimeter [one foot] on the top of the course, 10-15cm [up to six inches] at the bottom, and it was soft, so it was a little bit of a lottery. It was bad light when we started and then it got sunny at the end…

“Today, it was more like the real deal. It was far more challenging…harder and faster. The organizers have done a good job; today it was a really good course after the strange conditions [Wednesday]. Our young ones did a good job pushing all the way,” he said. In the final run, Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) was fourth, Lindsey Kildow (Burnsville, MN) 12th and Kirsten Clark (Raymond, Maine) 16th for the top U.S. times.

Last season, Clark was third overall in World Cup downhill points; she was third and fifth in the two DHs at Lake Louise and fourth in super G. She and Jonna Mendes (Heavenly) took the silver and bronze medals, respectively, in super G at the World Championships. Mendes scored her first World Cups at this Canadian Rockies ski area and has five top-10s on the hill.

Tight World Cup means plenty of competition

“Clarky’s working on some stuff, but she’s coming along; she knows this hill – and so does Jonna. We’re hoping their experience counts for something, too. The overall World Cup is coming closer together and with the young ones on the other teams coming up, the veterans are going to have keep shooting with all their guns,” the coach said.

Starting Friday and Saturday in DH: Clark, Mendes, Lalive, Kildow, McCarty, Alison Powers (Winter Park, Colo.), Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley), Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, Wash.) and, competing in her first World Cup races, Lauren Van Ness (Colorado Springs, Colo.).

Sunday, everyone but Powers will run in the super G.

After Lake Louise, the women’s tour returns to Europe for a slalom Dec. 11 in Vratna, Slovakia, and then a giant slalom and slalom in Spinleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic.