ARE, Sweden (Feb. 18, 2007 (USST Release)—The U.S. Ski Team found itself in an early hole Sunday and climbed partway out, finishing 11th in the team event, the final competition at the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Austria, dominating from the start with just five points in the super G (four would have had all four skiers winning his or her run), took the gold medal with just 18 points. Sweden was silver medalist (33) and the bronze went to Switzerland (39).
The U.S. squad, which was fourth when the event debuted at the 2005 World Championships in Bormio, Italy, one point away from a medal, was in trouble early. The first three skiers in the opening super G round of speed skiing, went off course before returning to finish. Only Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) finished his super G run. In slalom, there were three more DNFs (did not finish) with only Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) finishing.
"We needed people to finish; it's like the NCAAs - it hurts when people don't finish," said Cochran, NCAA slalom silver medalist and GS bronze medalist at the 2003 NCAAs for the University of Vermont.
"We took it seriously and i thought we could get a medal," said Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY), who crashed on the final section in slalom. "But it's all about having strong runs, and we just didn't have them."
Olympic combined champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) added, "It's tough, and we just don't have the depth to compete with the Austrians, but we didn't have our all-star team competing today, and that hurt, too. We had to go hard and we had to hope it paid off...but it didn't."
Said U.S. Alpine Director Jesse Hunt, "It was a tough day. We started out off the mark and we couldn't turn it around. It's a tough way to end the championships."
One frustrating element, he said, was that the U.S. ski Team "had some obvious high points here in Are - three silver medals, Ted fourth in giant slalom...some great performances. And we're a little dinged with injuries, so it's tough to end things this way."
The World Cup season resumes next weekend - the men are scheduled for two downhills and a slalom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, while the women are in Sierra Nevada, Spain, for a giant slalom and slalom.
2007 FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPSAre, SWE
(4 runs SG, 4 runs SL)
(Points given on team placings in each run - 1 points for first, 2 points for second, etc.)
1. Austria, 18 points
2. Sweden, 33
3. Switzerland, 39
4. Finland, 49
5. (tie) France and Canada, 51 each
11. USA (Super G - Ted Ligety, Park City, UT; Tim Jitloff, Reno, NV; Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN, and Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY; Slalom - Jimmy Cochran, Keene, NH, and Ligety, Richardson and Stiegler)