U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team Announced

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 26, 2010 11:35 am

The U.S. Olympic Freestyle Ski Team was announced today and the group of athletes is perhaps the strongest in history. Not only that, but the new team includes two former Alpine athletes–another first–who will compete in the first-ever Olympic medal event for Ski Cross. The Oly Team also includes four World Champions and an Olympic medalist–another big feat.

“We have a good mix of experienced veterans and some exciting young skiers making their first Olympic appearance,” said Freestyle Head Coach Jeff Wintersteen, a former U.S. Team freestyle athlete himself.

Where to start? The women’s moguls team is full of super heroines: World Cup Champion Hannah Kearney is a regular atop the podium and first-time Olympian Heather McPhie is on fire (McPhie recently won the Deer Valley World Cup–her first podium–and followed that with two second-place finishes). 2002 Olympic silver medalist Shannon Bahrke has also racked up some podiums this season, along with fellow U.S. Freestyle Ski Team veteran Michelle Roark.

The 2009 World Champion in men’s moguls, Pat Deneen, leads fellow teammates Bryon Wilson, 2005 World Champion Nate Roberts and top-ten regular Michael Morse to their first Olympic Games. 

“We’re really excited for all the Olympians. We have a great mix of veterans and youth,” Moguls Head Coach Scott Rawles said. “It’s been a tough road to make it here. But, I’m really looking forward to Vancouver, so are our athletes and we want to get up there and get the job done.”

Two-time Olympian Jeret “Speedy” Peterson (Boise, ID) and newcomer Lacy Schnoor (Draper, UT) claimed their aerials slots after winning the Steamboat Olympic Trials in December. 2009 World Champion Ryan St. Onge was granted a spot along with fellow veteran Emily Cook. Jana Lindsey, Dylan Ferguson Matt DePeters and Ashley Caldwell round out the squad.

“I’m very pleased with this Team,” said Aerials Head Coach Matt Christensen. “It’s a really good feeling when you look at veteran athletes like Ryan, Speedy and Emily who have all won World Cups. When Ryan does his jumps the best he can, he is so far ahead of the field–just like Speedy. Emily has been on the podium many times and has a new triple-twisting double she started last year and is looking to perfect for Vancouver. And both Jana and Lacy are performing the same trick.”

It has been a tough year results-wise for the aerialists, but Christensen remains optimistic. “So far our results have been less than what we would have liked. But our focus is on perfection and preparing for the perfect jumps in Vancouver.”

The classic freestylers have new additions to the Olympic Team: Veteran alpine superstars Casey Puckett and Daron Rahlves will represent the USA in the debut event of ski cross. It will mark Puckett’s fifth trip to Olympics and the fourth for Rahlves, one of the best downhillers in American history.

“I’m confident and excited for Daron and Casey,” said Ski Cross Head Coach Tyler Shepherd. “We are all honored and proud to be Vancouver Bound with the first U.S. Olympic Ski Cross Team. Both Daron and Casey are skiing extremely well and there’s no reason they can’t challenge for the podium.”

The Team is subject to final review by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

2010 U.S. OLYMPIC FREESTYLE SKI TEAM
(name, hometown, age as of opening ceremonies, birthdate, (past Olympics))

Aerials
Men

Matt DePeters, Hamburg, NY, 22, 8/20/87
Dylan Ferguson, Amesbury, MA, 21, 8/10/88
Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, Boise, ID, 28, 12/12/81 (2002, 2006)
Ryan St. Onge, Winter Park, CO, 26, 2/7/83 (2006)

Women

Ashley Caldwell, Hamilton, VA, 16, 9/14/1993
Emily Cook, Belmont, MA, 30, 7/1/79 (2006)
Jana Lindsey, Black Hawk, SD, 25, 9/18/84 (2006)
Lacy Schnoor, Draper, UT, 24, 6/12/85

Moguls
Men

Patrick Deneen, Cle Elum, WA, 22, 12/25/87
Michael Morse, Duxbury, MA, 28, 4/2/81
Nate Roberts, Park City, UT, 27, 3/24/82
Bryon Wilson, Park City, UT, 21, 4/7/88

Women
Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, CA, 29, 11/7/80 (2002, 2006)
Hannah Kearney, Norwich, VT, 23, 2/26/86 (2006)
Heather McPhie, Bozeman, MT, 25, 5/28/84
Michelle Roark, Denver, 35, 11/16/74 (2006)

Ski Cross
Men

Casey Puckett, Aspen, CO, 37, 9/22/72 (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006) *
Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, CA, 36, 6/12/73 (1998, 2002, 2006) *

* Past alpine skiing Olympians 

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