Truckee-Tahoe skiers receive official Olympic nominations
Several Truckee-Tahoe skiers will vie for Olympic medals next month.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard on Friday announced its nominations for the Olympic alpine team, and a number of local skiers have been tabbed to represent Team USA.
Nominations are to be confirmed by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
Team Palisades Tahoe veteran Travis Ganong will make his second Olympic appearance, and is coming off a World Cup season in which the 33 year old has posted a trio of top-10 finishes, including finishing third place last month in super-G at Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Ganong competed in the 2014 Olympics in Russia, but was sidelined in 2018 after suffering a torn ACL during a World Cup event in Bormio, Italy.
Also making a second Olympic appearance will be Truckee’s Bryce Bennett. The 6-foot-7-inch downhiller has had a career year on the World Cup scene, claiming his first career win in downhill last month.
Bennett competed in the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, where he took 16th place in downhill and was 17th in combined.
North Tahoe’s AJ Hurt, 21, has been nominated to her first Olympic team. The Team Palisades Tahoe skier’s season, thus far, has been highlighted by a 20th place in giant slalom at a World Cup event in Austria.
Team Palisades Tahoe will also be represented on the slopes by Keely Cashman, 22. The Strawberry, California, skier — who already owns national and junior championships — will make her Olympic debut next month after posting a season-best 23rd place in super-G at Sunday’s World Cup race in Zauchensee, Austria.
Another Team Palisades Tahoe representative, Nina O’Brien, 24, will also be making her Olympic debut.
O’Brien opened the World Cup season with a ninth-place finish in giant slalom, and after some struggles in races at the end of December and beginning of January, has bounced back to post back-to-back top-25 finishes in slalom.
Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy’s Luke Winters has also met criteria to be named to his first Olympic team. Winters, 24, is coming off a career-best 10th place in slalom racing.
‘A PHENOMENAL TEAM’
The team includes seven athletes who have podiumed on the FIS World Cup stage in the last two seasons, headlined by two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin, a medal threat in both technical and speed disciplines.
“This is a phenomenal team led by Mikaela, and she is not alone,” said Jesse Hunt, alpine director, in a news release. “This team is filled with talent and multiple podium threats in many events. We’ve had five athletes in the last two seasons who have had breakthroughs and career-first podiums. On top of that, we’ve had numerous up-and-coming athletes score personal best results. We are lucky to have the leadership, professionalism and experience of our veteran athletes like Mikaela and Ryan to set an example for our up-and-coming athletes about what success looks like at this level. It is going to be an exciting Games for this team.”
The team includes 17 athletes who qualified through one or more top-three finishes, top-five finishes, and top-10 finishes, along with World Cup points and discretion. The qualification period included 2021-22 World Cup races from Oct. 23 through Jan. 16.
The alpine team has a full competition schedule for the 2022 games, featuring 11 medal events across men and women, including slalom, giant slalom, alpine combined, super-G, downhill, and the team event.
Alpine competition will start with the men’s downhill on Feb. 6; while the women will kick off their Olympic competition on Feb. 7 with giant slalom. Alpine competition will conclude Feb. 19 with the parallel team event.
Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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