2010 Olympics: After delay, men’s downhill to run Monday
February 15, 2010
WHISTLER CREEKSIDE, B.C. and#8211; The wait for alpine medal competition appears to be over. After countless volunteer hours on the course and with cold, moisture-free weather on the horizon, men’s medal competition should open at 10:30 a.m. Monday with downhill featuring a strong American team that includes Bode Miller and Truckee’s Marco Sullivan.
“The things that most people never see are often times some of the most significant,” said men’s head coach Sasha Rearick. “That’s exactly the case here. The volunteers have as much heart as any of the athletes. They’ve been up all night working through rain and wet snow to get this track ready for Olympic competition. Now all we need is Mother Nature to do her part and it’s looking like that’s going to happen. We should be good to get the men’s downhill off (Monday).”
To gear up, the men’s team including Sullivan, Andrew Weibrecht and Steven Nyman spent the morning powder skiing with their coaches at Whistler. They then settled in to a good dinner prepared by USOC chef Adam Korzun, who also cooked for the Team during the January World Cup swing.
“So much of the success in this group comes from having fun,” said Rearick. “The snow was great this morning and the guys and staff had a good time, but we’re here to get the job done and we’re are in a good place to do that. We’re ready to race.”
All four Americans where able to get two training runs on the Dave Murray downhill, though only the second counted as a complete training run since not all competitors in the field where able to complete the first day due to fog. In both sessions, Miller landed 7th and 8th, while Weibrecht posting a pair of 10’s.
“My skiing has been solid this year and I’m feeling really comfortable on this hill,” said Weibrecht after the second training run. “But I know that in order to do well here, I’m going to have to push it.”
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For Miller, who is famous for leaving everything on the hill, the Olympics are an opportunity to raise his personal bar.
“I feel like I’m coming into these games in the unique position of still growing stronger,” Miller told reporters during the Team’s opening press conference. “I’m psyched to be here and I’m ready to run. It’s a unique opportunity to be here and in a lot of cases it allows you to elevate your intensity, your focus and your inspiration to a level that you couldn’t achieve on your own and that’s unique to the Olympics. I think there’s something extra to be put on that.”
In a field of 64, the U.S. men run early with Weibrecht cracking things open with bib four, followed by Nyman with six, Miller eight and Sullivan 27.
U.S. men will then go back-to-back with medal events as super combined retains its originally scheduled spot Tuesday.