2010 Olympics Watch: Mancuso, Sullivan land on Olympic ski team | SierraSun.com

2010 Olympics Watch: Mancuso, Sullivan land on Olympic ski team

Pat Graham
AP Sports Writer

PARK CITY, Utah and#8212; Tahoe locals Marco Sullivan and Julia Mancuso, a 2006 gold medalist, will join world champion Lindsey Vonn and two-time Olympic silver medalist Bode Miller on the 2010 Olympic Alpine Ski Team, which was announced Tuesday.

USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt, together with the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team partner Visa, announced the roster of 22 athletes to compete in the alpine events at Whistler Creekside north of Vancouver. The team is a mix of nine Olympic veterans and-13 first-timers.

Among the Olympic veterans is Truckee native Stacey Cook, who now skis out of Mammoth.

Vonn’s 2008 and 2009 seasons accounted for five World Cup titles and she set numerous ski racing high marks, yet her genuine approachability by fans and media alike have rocketed her to the forefront of Olympic sport, including a recently announced honor as 2009 USOC SportsWoman of the Year. Vonn has won every World Cup downhill this season and currently leads the overall, downhill, super G and super combined points standings.

and#8220;With Lindsey, there’s potential in every event,and#8221; said women’s head coach Jim Tracy. and#8220;She’s put in the hard work to make it happen and has proven she can.and#8221;

Joining Vonn and Mancuso in the Olympic spotlight is World Cup winner Sarah Schleper of Vail, Colo., who becomes a four-time Olympian after missing the two seasons directly after the 2006 Games due to injury and the birth of her nearly 2-year-old son, Lasse.

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and#8220;Sarah has achieved a huge goal that a year ago might have been unrealistic,and#8221; added Tracy. and#8220;But she has a spirit like no other. If you look at the Olympics there’s always someone who comes out of nowhere. It’s exactly what Julia did in 2006 and now Jules has something that a lot of people will never have and#8212; an Olympic gold medal.and#8221;

Sparked by solid early season finishes in speed events and a January super combined victory in classic Wengen, Switzerland, Miller and#8212; also a four-time Olympian and a double silver medalist from 2002 and#8212; is poised to charge on North American snow.

Former Olympic medalist Ted Ligety’s big race success began in 2006 when he became the Olympic combined gold medalist. He has since continued the trend with multiple World Cup wins, a World Cup giant slalom title in 2008 and a World Championships giant slalom bronze in 2009.

Rearick noted World Cup veterans like Sullivan, Squaw Valley resident, Steven Nyman of Utah, and Jimmy Cochran of New Hampshire, for putting in the hard work to earn yet another appearance at the Olympic Games. He also praised the team’s European training base in Pagenella-Trentino, Italy, for being instrumental in helping prepare his group with perfectly prepared training slopes all season.

and#8220;Each one of these guys has put in the work and effort to represent America in Vancouver,and#8221; Rearick said. and#8220;This staff has done an amazing job day in and day out taking care of all the details to make that happen. We’re a tight family who has been working together for many years and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to inspire Americans about the great sport of ski racing.and#8221;

Following a series of three World Cup speed races next weekend in St. Moritz, Switzerland, women’s speed will train at their European Base at Zell am See-Kaprun, Austria until Feb. 5 before arriving in Vancouver on Feb. 9, while the tech athletes will prepare in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

On the men’s side two giant slaloms and a slalom are set for Kranjska Gora, Slovenia before both men’s speed and technical groups move into a pre-Olympic camp in Park City, Utah. U.S. men will also arrive on Feb. 9 in time for the first downhill training run set for Feb. 10.

There are a total of five medal events for each gender with downhill, super G, super combined, giant slalom and slalom all on the Olympic calendar.

The team is subject to final review by the U.S. Olympic Committee.