Squaw Valley, Calif. March 10, 2002 (USSA)--Olympic double medal-winner Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) heads a throng ofveterans, World Junior Championships medalists and development-level skiers who will be competing in the Lake Tahoearea at the Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships, which begin Thursday with downhill races at Squaw Valley.
ESPN will broadcast coverage of the championships April 7.
The alpine championships are returning to Squaw Valley--the fabled site of the 1960 Olympics--for the first time since 1980 when Christin Cooper won two of three women's titles (slalom and GS), Cindy Nelson won the downhill crown and Steve Mahre won the slalom by nearly two seconds to prevent a Canadian sweep of the men's championships.
"These will be fun races because it's been a good winter," said USSA Vice President of Athletics Alan Ashley, who is returning from the World Cup Finals in Austria. "We've had some outstanding skiing and nationals always gives the up-and-coming athletes a chance to measure themselves against the World Cup skiers."
Bode Miller's four victories--three in slalom, one in giant slalom--are the most by an American man in two decades, since Phil Mahre won six during the 1983 season.
In addition, U.S. skiers won seven medals, including five golds, at the World Junior Championships. Leading that parade was Squaw Valley's latest Olympian, Julia Mancuso, who won the downhill gold medal to open the World Juniors and closed the championships with two more gold medals in GS and combined on the final day.
Among other top skiers racing besides Miller and Mancuso will be reigning world super G champion Daron Rahlves (who races out of Sugar Bowl), Squaw Valley's 2002 Olympian Marco Sullivan--the two-time Sprint Ski Racing Junior of theYear as selected by Ski Racing magazine--Tahoe's Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA), the defending women's giant slalom champion; Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT), who won two titles at the '01 championships; all-rounder Caroline Lalive (born in Truckee but now from Steamboat Springs, CO), who finished her World Cup season last week by finishing second in the downhill at the World Cup Finals in Austria; and two-time Olympian Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO), the defending slalom gold medalist.
The schedule for the 2002 Chevy Truck U.S. championships:
March 14 (Thursday) - Men' and women's downhill
March 15 - Men's and women's super G
March 16 - Return of the Champions
March 17 - Men's and women's slalom (at Sugar Bowl)
March 18 - Women's giant slalom
March 19 - Men's giant slalom In addition to the downhill, super G and giant slalom at Squaw Valley and the slaloms at Sugar Bowl, the annual Chevy Truck Return of the Champions will honor the 1960 Olympic Ski Team from Squaw Valley. The Return, which spotlights the Ski Team's tradition of success going back decades, features medal-winning skiers from the Olympics and World Championships. The racers get a chance to race in a fun giant slalom plus spend casual time--and between race runs--with the current U.S. Ski Team, discussing race preparation, racing techniques and anything else they think of. Among those expected to attend are Andrea Mead Lawrence, from Mammoth Lakes, Calif., the nation's only Olympic double-gold medalist skier (1952 GS and slalom), Olympic Valley's former world champion and World Cup overall champion Tamara McKinney, who won 18 World Cup races, before injuries forced her to retire in 1991, plus Greg Jones, who went from the Tahoe area to earn the bronze medal in combined at the 1976 Olympics (which, in those days before the Worlds went to odd-numbered years in 1985, doubled as the '76 World Championships).