Women’s Olympic Alpine Team
We don’t want to jinx Lindsey Vonn or add more pressure on her by reminding everyone that she is not only the alpine team’s No. 1 hope for a medal
this Olympic season, but also probably America’s best bet.
There’s no denying, however, the glaring truth. The 25-year-old doesn’t
like to think of herself as unstoppable in speed events, but it’s almost impossible for rest of the world (her competitors more than anyone) not to
see her that way. Vonn has won all but one World Cup downhill race since
last season’s Finals and has won or finished on the podium in every super G
since early February of last year.
With her second place in Levi this season, we also know that Vonn is more
than capable of medaling in slalom and super-combined, and, in spite of
her never having done so, there’s enough evidence from her single fast runs
that Vonn may make the Games her debut podium in giant slalom. But the
world champion is still working on getting her tech setup dialed in, and has
said that speed events are her main focus. The reality is — just like everyone is saying — the world champion could very well medal in five events.
But she’s not the only lady with a chance in Whistler.
There’s the defending Olympic GS gold medalist. True, the last two seasons have not been the best for Julia Mancuso. But let’s not forget that she
had never landed on a World Cup podium before her two bronze medals in
the 2005 World Champs, and had only one third place in GS on the World
Cup before winning gold in the Torino Games. Mancuso still knows how
to get it done in GS, but her top 10s this season have come in downhill
and super G. So don’t count her out to be holding a medal in any of three
disciplines in Whistler. She knows how to shine when the big events roll
With rumors of retirement swirling around her, team veteran Sarah
Schleper has made a big comeback in her ski career this season, nearly
landing on the podium (fifth place) in the Lienz slalom and hitting eighth
place in the Are GS. Whether or not this is her last season, the mother who
will turn 31 during her fourth Olympic Winter Games is focused — very
focused — on putting 200 percent into the project of getting a medal.
Stacey Cook, who says that she is absolutely going into her second Games
with the mindset to compete and land a medal, has one top- 10 under her
belt this season (in the Haus im Ennstal downhill) and has come close to
the podium (fourth place) in her Cup career.
Also, look at the youngest member of the U.S. women’s Olympic team.
Never mind that this is her first real World Cup season. Alice McKennis,
20, started the season with a 10th place in Lake Louise and enters the