Sugar Bowl’s Radford to represent U.S. in Italy
Sugar Bowl Academy’s Michael Radford, 14, won the USSA Western Region’s Topolino Shootout at Park City, Utah Dec. 29-30. In winning the Shootout, Radford earned the opportunity to represent the United States at the Trofeo Topolino Children’s Games in Pinzolo, Italy, Feb. 16-18.
Topolino is an annual international ski competition for J3 athletes (ages 13-14), and the U.S. sends a total of six team members to the event each year. This year the races will coincide with the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.
At the Shootout in Park City, Radford sat in fourth place overall after the first day of giant slalom.
“That night,” Radford said, “I guessed I might be out of it because Jared [Goldberg] and Nick [Daniels] were so far ahead of me in points.”
However, Radford unleashed his fury on the second day, winning two out of three slalom runs to claim the overall victory.
“I won the first slalom run by two seconds, so I was pretty confident after that,” Radford said. “I don’t know exactly what to expect in Italy, but I think I could possibly podium in slalom there as well.”
Sugar Bowl’s head J3 alpine coach Danielle Nichols said she was not at all surprised about her student’s victory.
“I knew he had a definite shot at winning,” Nichols said. “He’s a real talented skier.”
Besides possessing the physical tools needed to win races, Nichols said, Radford is mentally sound when it comes to competition.
“He’s very competitive,” she said. “He has the ability, unlike most kids his age, to race better than he trains. He’s incredibly focused and doesn’t let pressure get to him.”
But the pressure and excitement of watching her students race got to Nichols a bit.
“It was incredible. I was hyperventilating every run,” Nichols said.
Topolino will be the second international race of Radford’s career, as he competed in the Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup in 2004, where he placed third in slalom.
In addition to Radford, Mark Engel, Robert Pulford, and Kevin Welch, all of the Sugar Bowl Ski Team, qualified to participate in the Shootout.
“I was really impressed with the level of competition,” Nichols said, “and I am excited about how all of our guys skied in Park City. The field was stacked. It came down to the final run for the top four boys, and Michael was able to put it together for the gold.”