Olympian Stacey Cook returns for hometown visit | SierraSun.com

Olympian Stacey Cook returns for hometown visit

Courtesy PhotoTruckee's Stacey Cook of the U.S. Ski Team, right, and teammate Keely Kelleher spent a month in Maui this past summer training for the World Cup season.

Time is of the essence for athletes on the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, even when not racing 80-plus mph down the face of a mountain.

Ask Truckee’s Stacey Cook, who pulled into her hometown Saturday night for a family visit knowing she must hit the road Thursday morning for the next stop on the World Cup tour ” a giant slalom in Panorama, B.C., on Saturday.

“It’s great to be in a relaxed atmosphere,” Cook, 23, said over lunch at Wild Cherries on Monday. “Everyone here knows me as Stacey instead of an Olympian.”

Cook, a 2002 Truckee High grad and third-year member of the U.S. Ski Team, talked fondly of a month-long summer training session in Maui with teammate Keely Kelleher. Like her brief visit home this week, however, Cook said she wishes the stay could have been extended.

“I wish I could have stayed longer, but there never seems to be enough time anymore,” she said.

On the island, Cook said she and Kelleher trained both on land and in the water, running on beaches, working out with a paddle board, “hiking a ton” and more.

“We were just really trying to mix it up and utilize what the island has to offer,” she said.

The effort seems to have paid off, as Cook ” who now resides in Mammoth ” said she is feeling as spry as ever entering the bulk of the World Cup season.

“I’m having a really good prep period. It’s been the most consistent prep period in my time with the U.S. Ski Team,” she said. “I’m hoping to carry that consistency into the season and hopefully get on the podium this year.”

She couldn’t have come any close last year, as Cook placed fourth in the opening women’s downhill race ” her strongest event ” and sixth in a super-G.

“It’s something I think I’m capable of,” she said of a top-3 finish. “I want to be able to move up into the elite group of girls. I just need to be able to compete on a daily basis and have that focus day in and day out.”

Cook said she’s also wiser after racing on the World Cup the past two seasons, and competing in the 2006 Winter Olympics, where she placed 19th in downhill and 23rd in GS.

“I do have more confidence,” Cook said. “I have a better idea of how to approach the season, instead of just approaching the first race then not knowing what to do the rest of the year.”

– Olympics: 2006; Worlds: 2007

– Fourth at Lake Louise in first DH of 2007 season

– 2006 U.S. super G champion, silver medalist in 2007

– 2006 World Cup points in DH, SG, GS

– Five NorAm wins at Lake Louise since 2003

– 2004 Nor Am overall/DH champion (four DH wins)

– 2005 NorAm super G runner-up (two wins)

– Two-time Junior Worlds racer

– Former National Development Systems athlete

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