Mikaela Shiffrin joined 2015 organizers carrying the FIS flag from the Schladming closing ceremony to welcome the world to Vail/Beaver Creek two years from now. (Tom Kelly/U.S. Ski Team)
SCHLADMING, Austria (Feb. 17) – The U.S. Alpine Ski Team wrapped up one of its most successful World Championships in history, leaving Schladming with the official medals title with four gold plus a bronze. The medals will bring a start advantage for the Americans as the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships head to the USA in 2015 at Vail/Beaver Creek – the first time since 1999. Over 300,000 spectators jammed the mountainside in the Austrian village of Schladming over the last two weeks to watch American Ted Ligety win three gold, teen Mikaela Shiffrin capture the slalom and veteran Julia Mancuso bronze in super G.
HIGHLIGHTS Athletic Performance
U.S. Ski Team led the official medals count for the first time in history with four gold and one bronze. It was the first time a non-European nation had led the official medals count. Austria had the most overall medals with eight, including two gold.
It was the most gold medals ever won by the U.S. Ski Team in a World Championship or Olympics. The USA has twice won six overall medals including St. Moritz in 2003 and Bormio in 2005 (Bode Miller won two gold in each).
The overall total of five medals by the USA matched the total at the last Schladming World Championships in 1982.
Ted Ligety’s three gold medals marked the first time since 1968 that an athlete has won three or more gold in a World Championship (Jean Claude Killy with four in 1968, Grenoble).
Mikaela Shiffrin at 17 became the third youngest woman to win a slalom World Championship and the youngest gold medalist since a slightly younger Diann Roffe won gold in giant slalom in 1985 at Bormio/Santa Caterina.
With her fifth career World Championship medal (bronze, super G), Julia Mancuso has now medaled in six major championships. Four World Championships and two Olympics – more than any other American.
2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships - Vail/Beaver Creek
The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships will return to Vail/Beaver Creek in 2015.
Previous World Championships were held in Vail/Beaver Creek in 1999 and 1989, along with Aspen in 1950, as well as 1960 in Squaw Valley with Olympics doubling as Worlds.
With the gold medal success at 2013 World Championships in Schladming, the U.S. Ski Team will pickup additional starts for Ted Ligety in super G, super combined and giant slalom and Mikaela Shiffrin in slalom giving the USA five starts in those discplines.
QUOTES Bill Marolt, President and CEO, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association The last two weeks have been a magnificent showcase for alpine ski racing here in the heartland of our sport in Austria. Congratulations to the Austrian Ski Federation and the Schladming organizers for providing the stage on which the athletes could achieve such amazing success.
As a ski racing nation, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association is proud to join Vail/Beaver Creek in bringing the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships to America in 2015.
Ted Ligety, World Champion This has been an amazing two weeks. I don't think I've really realized what's happened yet. My goal was to defend my giant slalom title. I knew I could be in there for super G and super combined, but I wasn't expecting gold. It will take me a while before I realize where this sits in history.
At first look, it seems surprising that we've done so well, especially without guys like Bode, Lindsey and Nolan Kasper. And that doesn't take into account that our speed teams have been fast all season. Steven won a World Cup this year and Marco was back on the podium. Plus our women's speed team is one of the best out there and Mikeala and Resi have been fast all year. So when you look at where things have been moving, it's not all that surprising. We didn't just show up and surprise everyone, the results are there, they just mean more at the World Champs.
Mikaela Shiffrin, World Champion On strength of U.S. Ski Team This entire year has been a great season for the Americans. I'm not sure exactly why, but for me I'm just keeping it simple - going back to the basics and not letting anything distract you. It's just skiing, red and blue gates, and a finish.
On skiing at home for 2015 World Championships I'm really excited to race the next World Championships in Vail. I'm glad we have spots now for women's slalom and I hope it motivates the other young athletes to get their butts out there and train as hard as they can so they can race in the slalom and ski as fast as they can. There are a bunch of my friends back home who are fast skiers and they're just figuring their own things out just like I am. So I'm really glad the next World Championships are in my home in Vail.
Julia Mancuso, World Championship Bronze On success of U.S. Ski Team It's exciting to see the success of the team. Everyone is skiing well. Everyone asks why we do so well but I think it's just because we think of everything like it's about the skiing. It's not like we have to get a medal on these races - you just go out and do your best and try to win. It's really about wanting to win - look at Ted, he doesn't just want to get a medal, he wants to win.
Patrick Riml, Alpine Director, U.S. Ski Team Schladming 2013 Every single athlete when you come down for inspection and see 40,000 people on the course. You feel our sport is pretty incredible when you see all those specters and are involved and excited in the sport. It's amazing for our athletes and coaches to see that.
Vail/Beaver Creek 2015 It's going to be exciting to have more of our athletes able to compete at Vail/Beaver Creek. To be at home and race on home soil is unbelievable. We have a lot of sports but have to make sure we have the players behind our top stars so we can have a strong team in Beaver Creek.
U.S. Ski Team success in Schladming It was a difficult start losing Lindsey. But you can see the strength of our team and how the coaching staff working together to keep the focus after a tough start.
With Ted we were hoping for podium performances in super G and super combined and he pulled off the wins then with all the pressure on him in the giant slalom because everyone expected him to win that race was pretty impressive. The same with Mikaela, she won three races this year and to go out and win that gold medal here was incredible.
We try to take the pressure away from the athletes. On our side we keep it pretty simple - just making sure we prepare them 100% and be ready for them on that specific day.
Impact of U.S. Ski Team results on sport Our athletes are inspiring kids all over the world. We’re getting incredible media attention here and at home. I can’t wait to get to the U18 Nationals and talk the kids, the parents and the coaches. Our sport lives from heroes. And we have so many heroes.
Little kids, parents, grandparents, programs and club coaches need a hero and want to look up to somebody. They want to be like Lindsey, Bode, Ted, Julia and Mikaela and that inspires kids and parents and club coaches to get the people into the sport, to help them to reach their goals and fulfill their dreams to become a World Champion.
Looking to future Our strength is that even when you’re successful, you look for ways to get better. We had a great World Cup and a great World Championships, but we have to find a way to get even stronger.
HELP THE TEAM Do you believe in the U.S. Ski Team? Never in the history of alpine skiing has the USA emerged atop the medal table at a World Championships, until today. Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shiffrin and Julia Mancuso along with their U.S. Ski Team teammates rely on the support of the American public. Click here to support the team.