USSA adds J II championships to Junior Olympic schedule for 2004


USSA adds J II championships to Junior Olympic schedule for 2004{mosimage}USSA — The U.S. Ski Team, looking to re-establish a national competition for J II (ages 15-16) alpine ski racers, is re-creating the J II national championships for skiers across the country with the Chevy Truck Junior II Olympics, according to alpine director Jesse Hunt.

Hunt said the J II championships resume March 5-12, 2004, at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, N.Y. Whiteface hosted the 2003 Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships. More than 100 men and women from Maine to Alaska will be racing, Hunt says.

Until now, there had been one Junior Olympic event for the J I and J II age groups (ages 15-19), which made it difficult to create a clear path for advancement, Hunt says. The J II Olympics will re-emphasize national head-to-head competition at the J II level.

“We have international competitions for the J III’s and J IV’s,” Hunt says, “but we have no national competition for the J II’s, and we need to re-establish these J II nationals to help drive peer-group racing at that level … and to do it in all four events [slalom, giant slalom, super G, downhill]. We want to broaden our athletes’ development at this age by giving them an opportunity to see where they stack up against their peer group at a national level in all disciplines.”

Walt Evans, USSA’s national competition director, calls the Junior II Olympics “a critical element in the ‘Clear Path Advancement System’ being developed to promote continued success at the World Junior Championships.” Winners in the J II championships will be invited to participate in national development programs, he said.

Evans said athletes will qualify for the national competition through their regions. Each of the three regions — Western, Rocky/Central and Eastern — will be allowed to send up to 20 men and 15 women. All athletes must be between 15 and 16 years of age and registered with the FIS. The events will be sanctioned by both USSA and the FIS, and invitations will be extended to specific teams from other nations in an effort to stimulate competition among this age group.

The tentative schedule for the 2004 Chevy Truck Junior II Olympics at Whiteface Mountain:
– March 5, men’s and women’s slalom
– March 6, men’s giant slalom
– March 7, women’s giant slalom
– March 8, men’s and women’s super G
– March 9-10, men’s and women’s downhill training
– March 11, men’s and women’s downhill

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