Men’s Alpine Olympic Team
“This is the team I wanted to take to the Olympics,” said the U.S. Ski Team’s
head men’s coach, Sasha Rearick. “I’m excited to see what they can do.”
Indeed, after some additional quota spots came in at the last hour, Rearick
has a few more skiers than he can probably field. At press time, no decisions
had been made on just which events these skiers would be expected to start
in, and there will be some tough decisions to make. Here’s what the coaches
have to look at.
Will Brandenburg, Spokane, Wash., 23.
A second in a Europa Cup slalom Jan. 23 certainly helped his cause. He has
made a strong case all season with three NorAm wins and two second-places in December, four of those five podiums coming in speed races and one
in a slalom. He’s never finished a World Cup race first run in three attempts
— two at Kitzbuehel and one in the Alta Badia GS in 2007. He’s not likely
to unseat a spot in the speed races (the team is too deep there) but that still
leaves three races where he could become a consideration.
Jimmy Cochran, Keene, N.H., 28. Competed in the 2006 Games (12th SL)
He made the decision to concentrate on slalom a year ago and it seems to
have paid off. He put in a considerable amount of time this season in Europa Cup and then recorded a career-best ninth in the Alta Badia slalom.
He was the top American finisher in two slaloms so far this season, Alta
Badia and Zagreb.
Erik Fisher, Middleton, Idaho, 24.
He is ranked 35th on the most recent World Cup downhill start list and
36th in the downhill standings, the fifth best U.S. skier in both cases. He’s
45th on the super G start list and 40th in the SG standings; again, fifth
American in both cases. He was fourth U.S. finisher in both Val Gardena
speed races, third-best at Wengen’s downhill and third-best at Kitzbuehel’s
downill, an indicator he might ski better the bigger the event. Which starts
he gets, if any, could come down to training runs.