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BORMIO 2005: U.S. Ski Team sets eight-medal goal for alpine championships

BORMIO 2005: U.S. Ski Team sets eight-medal goal for alpine championshipsSANTA CATERINA, Italy (Jan. 28) – American skiers will be chasing a U.S.-record eight medals when the 2005 World Alpine Ski Championships open Saturday with the men’s super G on Bormio’s Stelvio course as the championships return to the valley which hosted 1985 World Championships.

Saturday, the U.S. men will start World Cup leader Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), 2001 super G world champion Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) and Dane Spencer (Boise, ID). Sunday, starters in the women’s SG will be Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME – 2003 silver medalist), Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO), Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA).

USA Network will televise coverage Feb. 5 from noon to 2 p.m. ET and Feb. 6 from noon to 2 p.m. ET. NBC will broadcast coverage Feb. 12, 1-3 p.m. ET, and Feb. 13, 3-5 p.m. ET.

“We got six two years ago,” U.S. Alpine Director Jesse Hunt said on the eve of the championships, “and we’re looking for eight medals this time – four from the men, four from the women.”

Said Patrick Riml, women’s head coach, “We set that goal in April when we were planning for this season and the girls have shown they can ski that well. We certainly think four medals is realistic.”

Men’s Head Coach Phil McNichol added Friday night, before Opening Ceremonies, “Four medals – and we’ll take ‘em in any color. We won’t turn back any medals…and the guys are ready. We’ve certainly got the horses who can medal in every event. And [Saturday] in super G, we’ve got two guys who’ve shown they can win here [Miller and Rahlves] and two darkhorses, who’re are ready to go.

“It’s a good course and may even favor our guys’ technical abilities,” he said. “There’s no snow in the valley, but there’s good snow on the race course. Conditions are excellent…compact, manmade but not icy – pretty grippy, aggressive snow. And it’s smoother than when we were here in December.”

At the 2003 World Championships, U.S. skiers earned six medals – and all four racers are on the World Championships Team in Bormio. Current World Cup leader Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) was gold medalist in giant slalom and combined, silver medalist in super G; Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) was silver medalist in super G with Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA) bronze medalist; and Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) took the bronze medal in GS. That topped the mark of five set in 1982.

“This is a major step toward the Olympics next year [on the other side of northern Italy in Torino], and we feel we’re on track. We’ve got great depth, we’ve got skiers who could medal in each event,” according to Hunt. “These should be exciting championships.”

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