Cyprien Richard takes home
huge prize from Rockfest
BY HANK McKEE
Rock music, lights and flames
put the rock in the World
took the long route
to a big payday.
Who invited this guy?
Cyprien Richard, named to the French team by
World Championship silver medalist Julien Lizer-
oux for the inaugural World Alpine Rockfest event
in Pagnella, Italy, on Dec. 22, survived the wildcard
qualifier and then took out the hired stars to claim
100,000 euros (about $144,000) —the biggest sin-
gle-winner prize in ski racing history.
The World Alpine Rockfest combined all the flash
and pomp of a rock concert with a dazzling display
of racing — think spotlights circling and flames
bursting from the snow. Far from being distracted,
Richard powered through an impressive field of
competitors, mowing down this season’s Swiss sen-
sation, Carlo Janka; Italian star of the night Davide
Simoncelli; and former World Cup champion Aksel
Lund Svindal en route to the win and big paycheck.
A squadron of 11 top alpine stars was selected to
compete. These racers, in turn, got to invite two
more athletes of their choosing (the Italians got
four) for a wildcard run off. The wildcard winner
was added to race against the stars. It was that lon-
ger road Richard utilized to win the event.
Simoncelli appeared to be on track for the win, to
the delight of the home crowd; he moved methodi-
cally up the ranks despite going up against some of
the most prestigious names on the current World
Cup circuit down the steep Pian Dosson track.
Though fog pestered the racers throughout the
evening, Richard turned on the afterburners in the
finale and got past Simoncelli by eight-hundredths
of a second for the win in one of the fastest trips of
“Receiving a check for 100,000 euros does not
happen so often,” Richard
said, noting there seemed to
be “extraordinary passion,”
present at the World Alpine
Rockfest. “It is a wonderful promotion of skiing,” he
Simoncelli was a bit dis-
traught at having missed
out on the top prize, pledg-
ing to get to the top step of a
World Cup podium as soon
as he could. He did say a
highlight of the competition
for him was crossing the fin-
ish line accompanied by the
notes of “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, his favorite
rock song, “at full volume.”
American Bode Miller was unable to rise to the
challenge with an injured ankle, though he gamely
gave it a try. “The right ankle still hurts,” he said.
“Plus, I got a bad choice of skis.” The event has “a
great future,” Miller added. “It is an original event
organized very well.” He came close to a making a
bigger impact with his choice of invitees, having
asked young teammate Tommy Ford to join in the
event. While Bode went out in the first round, Ford
finished fifth, dropped to ninth in the second round
and was dispatched by hundredths of a second.
Ted Ligety led the U.S. racers, making it to the
third of four rounds. Like Ford, he narrowly missed
moving on, finishing fifth, by a hundredth of a sec-
ond, and not advancing with the final four skiers. A
fourth U.S. skier, Tim Jitloff, lasted into the second
The rock band Placebo headlined the concert after
Charlie Meyers, Dean of Ski
Writers, is dead at 72
Charlie Meyers, called the Dean of Ski Writers by ski
journalists, and the Denver Post Outdoor Writer by
everyone else, died Jan. 5 from complications due to
lung cancer. He was 72. He wrote extensively about
hunting, fishing and skiing for the Denver Post for
four decades. His last column was published Dec. 6.
Post Publisher William Dean Singleton said: “He was a
wonderful man, a wonderful journalist and a wonder-
ful outdoorsman. I cannot imagine the Denver Post
Meyers is survived by his wife, Dianna, two sons Kirk
and Kevin and two daughters Lisa Lucero and Kara
Hardin, three granddaughters, a great granddaugh-
ter, a stepson and a stepdaughter.
Meyers was inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of
Fame in 1993 and won the FIS Journalist Award from
the International Ski Federation (he was the fourth
American to win it) in 1999.
Scott Blackum named new
USOC chief executive
Scott Blackmun, a prominent sports executive and
former U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) leader, was
named the new chief executive officer of the USOC
on Jan. 6.
Blackmun, 52, first joined the USOC in September
1998 as general counsel and director of legal affairs.
In 2000, he became senior managing director and
was responsible for sport operations and resource
allocation to National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and
athletes. From Nov. 2000 to Oct. 2001 he served
as acting USOC chief executive officer. Blackmun, a
resident of Colorado Springs, Colo., now returns from
the law firm of Holme, Roberts & Owen LLP, where he
was a partner and a member of the firm’s executive
committee. From 2002–06, he was chief operating
officer of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) in Los
Angeles, overseeing operations for the sports and
Blackmun graduated summa cum laude from Dart-
mouth College in 1979 with a degree in philosophy,
and received his J.D. from Stanford Law School in
1982. He and his wife, Ann, have three children.
He will take over as CEO on Jan. 26 from Acting
CEO Stephanie Streeter. Streeter had served in the
position since last March, but did not seek to become
the permanent CEO of the USOC.