Smith, Delaney named to US Ski Team
|LEANNE SMITH (second skier from right) listens as teammate Lindsey Vonn addresses the crowd in Vail, Colo. at the ceremony naming the 2011 US Ski Team. Tom Green - Vail Resorts. (click for larger version)|
November 08, 2010VAIL, Colo. — Mount Washington Valley natives Leanne Smith and Devin Delaney were both named to the US Ski Team in a ceremony on Saturday in Vail, Colo.
Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.), Bode Miller (Franconia), Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, Calif.) and Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) along with Olympic bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.) headline the 2011 U.S. Alpine Ski Team named Saturday. A huge crowd of more than 1,000 packed the streets for the announcement in Vail Plaza, which was Web cast live on Universal Sports.
The first-of-its-kind public celebration continued Vail's storied commitment to skiing. The 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships will be held in Vail and Beaver Creek Feb. 3-15, 2015, dates confirmed by the International Ski Federation meeting earlier in the day in Switzerland. It will be the third time the Vail Valley will host alpine's premier biennial event.
The 49-member team also features World Cup winners Sarah Schleper (Vail, Colo.), Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah) and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, Calif.) for a total of 22 Olympians.
"I'm excited about the group we've put together," said third-year men's head coach Sasha Rearick. "There is an incredible diversity of experience with guys like Bode, Ted, Steven and Marco. Then we have younger guys who are showing they have speed and are ready to take the next step."
"Starting with the camps this summer, things have been going really well," added women's head coach Alex Hoedlmoser. "Lindsey and Julia are strong and eager to continue their Olympic success, but the rest of this group knows they can step up. Our group dynamics are great, the coaching staff is highly professional and because of that, this team has the opportunity to do some great things this season."
The free public event, presented by Vail Resorts, drew a huge crowd of cheering fans in support of the U.S. stars wearing their new Spyder uniforms. Spyder has been providing innovative performance race suits and functional outerwear to the U.S. Ski Team for more than 20 years.
U.S. Ski Team broadcast partner Universal Sports aired the celebration live on www.UniversalSports.com, where it is now available for on-demand streaming.
Continuing Olympic success
Vonn enters the 2011 season as one of the most decorated alpine skiers in American history. In addition to 2010 Olympic gold and bronze medals, her resume also boasts three consecutive World Cup overall and downhill titles, two straight World Cup super G crowns and a 2010 crystal globe for super combined. She currently holds the American record for World Cup victories with 33 and will be looking to defend her double World Championships gold medals in downhill and super G.
"I'm really excited that Vail and the U.S. Ski Team put together this amazing event to name the 2011 team," said Vonn. "It's a cool way for our fans, both here in Vail and watching the event live on Universal Sports to get to know all the athletes on the team. Vail always puts on a great show and I think this will add a lot of excitement for people to continue to cheer us throughout the season."
Miller returns for his 13th winter with the U.S. Ski Team following an inspired Olympics where he pushed his own limits to garner the full complement of hardware highlighted by a stunning gold in super combined. As the most decorated American male alpine skier, there are few marks for Miller to accomplish, yet for him, it's not about wins, it's about skiing with passion.
"It's about doing what I like to do best," said Miller. "It was never about the victories. Not at the beginning of my career and not now. I just love to ski, stay fit and encourage kids to get out and do the same."
Mancuso enters the 2011 season driven by a double silver medal haul in Vancouver, which boosted her to the most successful female Olympic alpine skier in U.S. history. It also recharged her for a solid preparation period fueled by motivation to return to her spot among the World Cup elite.
"There aren't any excuses," said Hoedlmoser, who enters his 14th season with the women's team. "Everyone did what they needed to do in the preparation period and we're all really motivated. I'm expecting quite a bit. It's time for some of these athletes to step up and make that breakthrough."
Fresh off his Olympic super G bronze medal, and successful shoulder surgery, Weibrecht will be eager to open the speed season to hunt for his first World Cup podium, while Ligety is looking to add to his second World Cup giant slalom title and upgrade his GS bronze from the 2009 World Championships.
"The work that the athletes put in this prep period is unprecedented," added Rearick. "It's something I'm proud of, but I'm also proud of the work this coaching staff has done. We're excited to continue that execution as a team throughout the World Cup and World Championship year."
Major calendar events to watch this season are the Aspen Winternational set for Thanksgiving weekend in Aspen, Colo. featuring Vonn, Mancuso and the full complement of international stars. American men take to the slopes just down the road in Beaver Creek Dec. 3-5 for the annual Birds of Prey races, where Miller, Ligety and Nyman have been podium staples. Tune in to NBC, Versus and Universal Sports to see all the action.
The 2011 FIS Alpine World Championships are set for Feb. 8-20 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Smith, a 2010 Olympian, was named to the B Team, while Delaney was named to the Development Team.