Public invited to meet Mendes on Sunday |

Public invited to meet Mendes on Sunday

Tribune and Heavenly reports

The banner will read, “Congratulations and welcome home, Jonna, 2001 giant slalom national champion.”

Heavenly Ski Resort and the Hard Rock Cafe at Harveys Casino Resort invite the South Shore community to celebrate Jonna’s Mendes’ homecoming on Sunday, April 8. Mendes will appear at the cafe on Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. Fans and friends are invited to stop by to meet and congratulate Mendes and get an autographed photo or T-shirt.

Mendes completed her best season yet on the World Cup circuit and walked away with three podium finishes in last week’s Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships, including a gold in GS. Currently ranked 17th in the world in downhill and one of the U.S. Ski Team’s top three female speed skiers, Mendes’ best finishes on the World Cup circuit this year included an impressive ninth in the Alpine World Championships combined event and a sixth-place finish in the downhill at Lake Louise, Canada.

“I’m excited to come home to Tahoe and see all my friends and supporters that I haven’t seen all season,” Mendes said. “I know I have a lot of support from the community and I feel it when I’m on the road, but it’s always nice to come home and feel it again.”

The 2000-01 season ended abruptly for the 22-year-old champion when she hooked a tip on a slalom gate just four gates from the finish of the last race of the season and broke a bone in her foot. However, always the optimist, Mendes is anxious to enjoy the summer catching up on her reading and going on a well-deserved tropical vacation. The prognosis is calling for Mendes to be back on skis by the fall.

At age 3, Mendes moved to South Lake Tahoe with her family and made her first turn on skis at 4. She began with the Heavenly Development Team at 5 and competed in her first race at 8. In 1998, Mendes was a last-minute addition to the U.S. Olympic team and successfully competed in her first Olympics at 18.

With the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City just 10 months away, Mendes could well be competing for the gold again.

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