Germany - Olympians Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso, Ted Ligety, and Sarah Schleper will represent the U.S. Ski Team Wednesday in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships nations’ team event. The format is head-to-head parallel giant slalom.
Miller, Mancuso and Ligety have 10 World Championship medals between them and Ligety is the reigning Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom champion. Megan McJames (Park City, UT) and Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) will also be on the roster.World Champs medals and 100,000 Swiss Francs are on the line with the winning team earning 50,000 Francs.
“The team event should be fun,” said Ligety. “With Julia, Sarah, Bode and I – I think we have a good chance and GS is my go-to event right now, plus the dual format is a lot of fun to compete in. This is a pretty sweet team, but we’ll all have to lean on each other to move on.”
“It’s a parallel race, so you have to go really hard out of the start and generate speed on the flat part of the course if you want to be fast,” said men’s Head Coach Sasha Rearick. “It will be interesting to see who the other countries enter. We’ll see how we stack up after we execute our best skiing.”
Introduced in 2005 the team event has been run a couple of different ways with a new parallel format introduced at last winter’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals in Garmisch. The Czech Republic took the inaugural crown, however Austria is the reigning World Champion team dating back to 2007 Are, Sweden. The 2009 event was canceled due to weather in Val d’Isere, France.|
Here’s a quick run-down of the rules:
- Set up in bracket style, the top 16 nations are ranked similar to the NCAA’s March Madness. Total team sizes are set at a max of six racers, with at least two competitors from each gender starting each heat.
- The best ranked nation will receive bib number 1 and the lowest ranked nation bib number 16. If any given heat is not complete with two teams, e.g. the 15th and 16th ranked nations are not at the start, the participating nation present will automatically be qualified for the next round.
- The result of each heat between the nations will be determined by points. A win will score one point for the nation. In case of a tie, both nations get one point. In case of a tie after completing the four runs (2:2), the nation with the best individual run time will win.
- If both competitors fall, the first competitor to reach the finish successfully will be the winner. If both competitors do not finish, the competitor who successfully skied the furthest distance will be the winner At the end of the day, there will be two teams gunning for victory and two teams fighting for third.
“We’ve got a sweet team and the head-to-head format is really cool and I’m sure fun to watch,” said Mancuso. “Plus it’s a maximum of four runs if you make it to the finals. I’ll take four extra runs on the GS hill before we have that medal event.”
Individual medal action returns Thursday with women’s giant slalom.