Lake Tahoe athletes making historic mark at this year’s Winter Olympics | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe athletes making historic mark at this year’s Winter Olympics

Kevin MacMillan and Nate Peterson
Sierra Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Nine athletes representing Lake Tahoe and Truckee are leaving one giant bootprint at this year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver and#8212; and in most cases, a bigger bootprint than the rest of the world.

Heading into Saturday, South Lake Tahoe local Hannah Teter’s brilliant second-place run in Thursday night’s snowbaord halfpipe final stands out as Tahoe’s fourth medal of the 2010 Games and#8212; more than 13 other countries, and tied with five more. Only the United States, Germany, Norway, Canada, France and South Korea can say they’ve outperformed Tahoe to this point. Winter sport stalwart Russia, as of Friday evening, was tied with Tahoe.

But this shouldn’t be that big of a shock, based on Tahoe’s spectacular Olympic history. Thursday marked the second career Olympics medal for Teter, who hails from Vermont but now calls South Lake Tahoe home; she took home gold during the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy.

After the event, Teter and#8212; who did not fall, unlike many of her competitors on the icy Crystal Mountain pipe and#8212; said she felt some relief to stay upright during her blistering first run, after falling every practice run prior.

and#8220;I got it back by visualizing and remembering it’s all fun and games,and#8221; she said.

Earlier Thursday, Olympic Valley skier Julia Mancuso helped Tahoe get in position for its fourth medal by nabbing her second straight silver, this time in the women’s super combined, after taking the silver on Wednesday in the women’s downhill.

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Was she surprised? Nope.

and#8220;I’ve always just known that I would get a medal here,and#8221; said Mancuso, a 2006 gold medalist. and#8220;I love the Olympics. My big goals have always been the Olympics. I’ve just stayed really positive, and just really believed, no matter what is going on around me, just knowing that I have the ability to be on the podium.and#8221;

Apparently, Tahoe/Truckee loves the Olympics too.

Last Saturday, Tahoe City’s Shannon Bahrke started the local party with a bronze medal in women’s moguls, adding a stories finish to her 12-year career with the U.S. Ski Team.

After the bronze, she even gave a shout-out to her homeland, likening the slushy conditions in Vancouver that night to a few local memories of her own.

and#8220;I’m from Lake Tahoe,and#8221; she said, and#8220;and sometimes it’s been known to rain there.and#8221;

After Truckee’s Marco Sullivan raced to a middle-of-the-pack finish in Friday’s men’s Super-G finals, Tahoe’s medal count could grow larger, as Mancuso looks for her third medal of the 2010 Games in the Women’s Super-G finals, which also should feature Truckee’s Stacey Cook.

On Sunday, Truckee residents Daron Rahlves and Errol Kerr (racing for Jamaica) look for luster in the men’s ski cross final.

Later in the week, Mancuso expects to return to the snow in the women’s giant slalom (Wednesday) and women’s slalom (Friday), while Tahoe City’s Scotty Bahrke and#8212; brother of Shannon and#8212; looks to medal in Thursday’s men’s aerial finals.