Get ready for the epic conclusion of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals March 13-17. With the world’s top 25 athletes in each discipline, the competition in Lenzerheide, Switzerland is bound to be a fierce battle for the coveted World Cup. As for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, all eyes are on them. After conquering 31 World Cup podiums and 16 victories from 10 different athletes, the U.S. Alpine Ski Team has already completed a record shattering season that is worthy to be placed in the history books of the ski world.
Ted Ligety celebrates a historic third gold | Photo: ussa.org
Super ski athletes such as triple World Champion Ted Ligety, seventeen-year-old slalom World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin and four-time Super G podium finisher Julia Mancuso, are crowd favorites of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team that are expected to dominate the Finals.
Currently in third place overall, Park City, Utah local Ted Ligety has showed his absolute dominance in the sport, especially in GS. Breaking records left and right, Ligety is officially in third place of all-time in men’s World Cup giant slalom victories with a whopping total of 16. Ligety recently won his fourth Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom title in the last six years. Making his mark for the 2012-2013 season, Ligety is the first man to be on the podium for the first eight giant slalom races of a World Cup season since legendary Michael von Grünigen did it in 1995-96. In fact, Ted Ligety has won 5 of the 8 races this season which makes him the fifth man in history to win at least five giant slalom races in one season. Not to mention, Ted Ligety has reached triple-threat status after winning 3 gold medals in three disciplines at the World Championships in Schladming, Austria. With all of these accomplishments, Ted Ligety has risen in the legendary ranks.
Ted Ligety stated, “It’s cool to go into World Cup Finals without the stress of the giant slalom title, but my goal now is to get third in the overall. Felix [Neureuther] and I have been battling for that position for a little while now and with his giant slalom and slalom power, that’s going to be difficult. But hopefully I can ski a good super G and also ski well in the giant slalom and we’ll see what happens. I’ll ski everything from now until the season is done.”
Mikaela Shiffrin in action| Photo: Getty Images/Agence Zoom – Christophe Pallot
From Eagle-Vail, Colorado, slalom World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin has proved that age is not a factor for skill level. At seventeen years old, Shiffrin has accomplished more in her few years on the world tour than some athletes have accomplished in a lifetime. As the third youngest woman to win a slalom World Championship, Shiffrin has earned three World Cup wins. She’s also the first American to win a Championship or Olympic slalom since Barbara Cochran won at the 1972 Olympics and World Championships in Sapporo. Recently, Mikaela won her first slalom World Championship in Schladming, Austria. In addition, Shiffrin has held her position as the Longines Rising Ski Star Leader for months, more than doubling the next best score. As for the upcoming Finals in Lenzerheide, Shiffrin will battle with Slovenia’s Tina Maze to bump her second place standing to first to take the title.
Mikaela Shiffrin commented, “I want the globe, but we’ll see if it works out that way. I’m really excited for Lenzerheide. I trained there a few weeks ago and it is a really awesome hill. It’s always exciting to have the very last race be important to the end. It’s nice to know that in the slalom this year there was a battle for the end and anybody could win.”
Julia Mancuso making turns and making her country proud | Photo: Mitchell Gunn/ESPA
Julia Mancuso from Squaw Valley, California has also made her mark in the ski world. With 14 career super G podiums, Mancuso is tied for 10th on the women’s all-time super G podium list with Austrian Anita Wachter. Due to gaining a career best Super G season of 2012-2013, Julia Mancuso from Squaw Valley, California has quickly risen in the ranks. After winning four Super G podiums and a World Champs bronze, Mancuso has the dedication and skill to grab the opportunity at Finals to jump to third by winning downhill and Super G in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Julia Mancuso stated, “This is a fun and difficult course. I hope the weather stays good so we can race it. My goal for this season is still to win a race and I feel like if I can do that, then I’ll put myself in a good position to challenge for the super G globe. I’m going to fight hard and see what I can do. On this hill you have to be on line and you have to go for it. It’s steep and it doesn’t let off. You have to be completely committed.”