U.S. Olympic Alpine Team women ready for the Games

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 11, 2010 8:00 am

Today marks the first day of official training for the ladies, and the day when top medal hopeful Lindsey Vonn will slap her skis on for the first time since injuring her shin about a week ago in Austria. Vonn has repeatedly told the press that she is in excuciating pain and it’s the worst injury she has ever had. Our thoughts and well wishes are with the double World Champion.

The rest of the women are feeling strong. Newcomer Alice McKennis has already racked up World Cup top tens in her first official season on the tour and is right on track for the Games. “It all happened so fast,” McKennis said of qualifying for the Olympics. “I started out on the World Cup and just kept moving. It’s really a dream to make it here, and I’m looking forward to the experience.”

2006 Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso is also in good spirits. “I went into the last race (at Torino Olympics) with an open mind and winning that gold taught me that anything is possible and to start every day with a smile,” Mancuso said. “But I’m healthy, my skiing has been good—not incredible, but I’m going into these Games with an open mind and I’m enjoying the Olympic spirit. I’m looking forward to defending that gold medal and hopefully will pick up some others.”

Minnesota-native Kaylin Richardson has a huge contingent of fans, which pumps her up for action. “Everyone in Minnesota is so excited and so behind me. The excitement is so tangible,” Richardson said. “I have friends coming in from Washington, DC, from California… The Richardson fan club will be alive and well in Whistler!”

U.S. Olympic teammate Chelsea Marshall also has a fan ‘club’ headed to Whistler, including her brother, U.S. Ski Team athlete and slalom star Cody Marshall. Leanne Smith is also ready to go in Whistler, after having notched several solid top-20 results in World Cup races.

Olympic veteran Stacey Cook switched up her pre-season training to help prepare for the Games. “After last season I really struggled mentally, and I felt like I was falling off the map,” Cook said. “I knew I had to do something different. I started this spring doing a camp with the men’s team actually, and it really got the ball rolling to see how the guys train and to work side by side and see their aggression. I have a new technician this year as well and have just tried to stay positive in every situation and it’s really changed my skiing and situation. I’m happy to be back again!”

Check back at theskichannel.com for more news from Whistler and Vancouver.


photo: Haney