VANCOUVER, BC (Feb. 28) – The U.S. Olympic Ski and Snowboarding Team wrapped up the 2010 Olympic Winter Games on Sunday with 18 U.S. athletes combining to win 21 medals, including six gold, over the course of 16 days of competition.
Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) left the Games with three medals, including gold in the super G, bringing his career total to a U.S. record of five – finding the passion he skied with as a youth through the support of the U.S. Ski Team and its coaches, athletes and staff.
“How unusual it is now, how unique it is to find that kind of energy to go above and beyond what you could normally achieve on your own because you’re a part of something else,” Miller said. “And I think that was really cool, I think that was exactly what I needed.”
“I’m really proud of our team. We went after it this time. We weren’t scared. We stomped on it. From Lindsey (Vonn) on down, we were always aggressive.”
In her third Olympics but bearing widespread medal expectations for the first time, Vonn (Vail, CO) won gold in the downhill and bronze in the super G, adding to the incredible list of accolades for the 25-year-old skier.
“I left it all on the hill and I have no regrets whatsoever,” Vonn said. “I’m leaving these Games happy, because I gave it everything I have, and I’m very proud to be a part of this successful Olympic Team.”
Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) earned three silvers – including the first ever for the U.S. in nordic combined. Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) won two silvers to give her a U.S. women’s record three medals for her career.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Mancuso said. “I haven’t been on the podium for two years, and then to come in here and take two silver medals is incredible, and then to be a part of a team that had an amazing Olympics is special. It’s really perfect.”
The U.S. success began early when on the opening day of competition (Feb. 13), Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) kicked it off with gold in moguls, with teammate Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) taking bronze. Bryon Wilson (Butte, MT) added bronze a day later in moguls, while Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) took America’s first-ever Olympic nordic combined medal, winning silver.
Those opening weekend medals were key in igniting athlete performance when alpine skiing and snowboarding began just a few days later.
One of the biggest leaps was seen in nordic combined, where the USA medaled in every event including a gold-silver finish for Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) and Spillane in the large hill combined competition. Demong and Spillane were joined by veteran Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Brett Camerota (Park City, UT) for silver in the combined team event.
“To me, this program has always been about the team,” Demong said. “This Olympics has shown that, even to ourselves, more than ever, because I think all three of us – Todd, Johnny and I – really, really wanted to get the medal out of the way. We wanted to have enough of this 86 years, no medal kind of thing.”
In snowboarding, Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) repeated in halfpipe as did Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME) in snowboardcross. Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT) took silver in halfpipe with Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT) and Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) each taking bronze.
“It was everything I had dreamed of,” White said after landing his patented Double McTwist 1260 on his final run. “Honestly, the dreams I’ve had matched this.”
In men’s aerials, Jeret “Speedy” Peterson put down a big trick of his own – the Hurricane – to claim silver.
“I know that a lot of people go through a lot of things in their life, and I just want them to realize they can overcome anything,” a teary-eyed Peterson said after his final jump. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and mine was silver and I love it.”
The U.S. athletes were always quick to thank Olympic officials and the people of Vancouver, living up to the high expectations Canada set for these Games.
“Over the last couple years, I’ve had the pleasure of coming up here to train and preview the venues,” Demong said. “When I came two years ago, I could see it all happening already. It’s such a beautiful place and city and to see what they were building especially for my event was perfection.”
Vonn agreed, adding that fans showed up in full force and the U.S. athletes enjoyed support from both American and Canadian fans.
“You don’t get that at every Olympics,” Vonn said. “I didn’t feel that same energy and atmosphere in Torino as I did here in Whistler, so I’m taking away a lot of good memories from these Games. It’s definitely one of the best Olympics experiences that I’ve ever had.”
With 2010 in the history books, the USSA is already looking ahead to 2014 in Sochi and beyond.
2010 U.S. OLYMPIC SKI AND SNOWBOARDING TEAM MEDALS
Brett Camerota, Nordic Combined Team Event
Billy Demong, Nordic Combined Team Event
Todd Lodwick, Nordic Combined Team Event
Julia Mancuso, Women’s Downhill
Julia Mancuso, Women’s Super Combined
Bode Miller, Men’s Super G
Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, Men’s Aerials
Johnny Spillane, Nordic Combined Normal Hill
Johnny Spillane, Nordic Combined Team Event
Johnny Spillane, Nordic Combined Large Hill
Hannah Teter, Women’s Halfpipe
Shannon Bahrke, Women’s Moguls
Kelly Clark, Women’s Halfpipe
Scotty Lago, Men’s Halfpipe
Bode Miller, Men’s Downhill
Lindsey Vonn, Women’s Super G
Andrew Weibrecht, Men’s Super G
Bryon Wilson, Men’s Moguls