It seems ironic that a ski racer who won 18 slalom and giant slalom World Cups in her career would reach a penultimate gold medal by virtue of a single downhill finish. That was the story of Tamara McKinney’s brilliant World Championship title in 1989 at Vail.
Throughout the ‘80s, McKinney stood out as one of ski racing’s biggest stars. After a podium finish in her very first World Cup in 1978 at the age of 17, she went on to win 18 World Cups – all slalom and giant slalom – and claimed three crystal globes. Her historic overall title in 1983 was the first for an American woman.
A talented musician as well as a ski racer, Laurenne Ross is a four-discipline threat both on and off the snow with incredible talent on violin, piano, guitar and vocals. After a slower than normal start to the 2014 season, Ross picked things up in the run up to the Olympics and then posted a season-best 11th in the Sochi downhill. With a World Cup podium under her belt and Olympic experience, Ross is looking to continue her success in 2015 with the highlight being the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships at Vail/Beaver Creek.
Name: Laurenne Ross
Sport: Alpine skiing
How/when did you decide you wanted to compete: Around age six, when I raced down my first course
Biggest accomplishment in your career so far: 2nd place at the World Cup Downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Stacey Cook Helps Promote Olympic Values at 54th IOA in Greece
Winning is important, but respect for diversity is the true meaning of the Olympic Games.
That was the message at the 54th International Session of the International Olympic Academy (IOA) for Young Participants. In June, two hundred participants from 96 countries congregated in Ancient Olympia, Greece; among them was the U.S. Ski Team’s Stacey Cook.
The speed team veteran “took a chance,” not really knowing much about the program, hoping to take advantage of a summertime trip to Greece. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of her life, she said.
When our youth athletes strive to achieve their personal best, victory is won on and off the hill. Encouraging our kids to set individual goals and focus on maximum personal effort benefits both the player and the team – in a variety of ways.
Athletes who come to realize that personal development can be even more rewarding than a win are mastery-focused athletes who build the confidence and initiative needed to succeed – in sports and in life.
She may be one of the top contenders for gold, but four-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso knows who her top competition will be come February. Check out her top picks to contend for the Raptor downhill podium.
Lara Gut (SUI) - She is a technical risk taker and this is just her kind of hill. She proved she could ski this hill fast in last years World Cup test events and will be tough again.
Anna Fenninger (AUT) - Anna is coming off a strong season she will be gunning for medals in Beaver Creek. Her technical skills are also in the favor of this hill.
Lindsey Vonn (USA) - Lindsey will be looking for her home hill comeback after a couple of unlucky seasons off. She has the skills and the will power to leave it all on the hill.
BEAVER CREEK, CO (July 7) – When Granite Stater Leanne Smith (N. Conway, NH) took her first lap on Raptor – the brand new Audi FIS Alpine World Cup women’s downhill and speed host for the 2015 World Championships – she knew right away it was the “real deal.”
“Our eyes were wide when we trained on it two years ago, but there was a lot more big eyes when we raced it last year,” said Smith. “This downhill is the real deal, but in a good way. I think it’s going to be one of the more popular downhill’s on the women’s World Cup tour.”
A perfect compliment to the men’s Birds of Prey race hill, but with it’s own unique DNA, Raptor utilized the natural terrain of Beaver Creek Resort to tap into every element of modern downhill racing.
Nine U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Athletes Nominated for ESPY Awards
PARK CITY, UT (June 30) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association will be the most represented sports organization at the 2014 ESPY Awards with nine Olympic athletes nominated in five categories. Sochi gold medalists Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO), David Wise (Reno, NV), Jamie Anderson (S. Lake Tahoe, CA) and Maddie Bowman (S. Lake Tahoe, CA) are each nominated for two awards with Shiffrin up for Best Female Athlete, the top women’s honor. Kelly Clark (West Dover, VT), Kaitlyn Farrington (Bellevue, ID), Joss Christensen (Park City, UT), Sage Kotsenburg (Park City, UT) and Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) also received nominations. Fans can submit their vote for the awards at http://espn.go.com/espys/2014/.
It's exciting to watch our children excel at the sports they love. Working hard toward a personal best or perfecting a specific technique are critical to success, but let’s also remember that playing multiple sports can be tremendously beneficial in the long run – and a lot of fun for our kids.
Branching out from just one sport offers youth athletes both physical and mental benefits, from enhancing current skills to learning to appreciate the new skills required by a different sport.
GOVERNMENT CAMP, OR (June 19) - The U.S. Alpine Ski Team men's technical program took it back to basics last week with athletes from across the country, working to elevate the nation's technical skiing ability. Audi FIS Alpine World Cup athletes David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO), Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT) and Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, CA) along with the U.S. Ski Team National Training Group and top U18, U16 and U14 athletes particpated in a week of fundamental slalom skills focused drills and free skiing on the snowfields at Mt. Hood.