March 26, 2006
SUGARLOAF, Maine (USST Press Release)—Former super G world champion Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), the most successful U.S. man in World Cup speed races, said his long-awaited good-bye to ski racing Sunday by winning the last race of his career. He collected his seventh U.S. title, and his third straight super G crown at the TD Banknorth U.S. Alpine Championships.
OLN will broadcast coverage of the super G at Sugarloaf USA resort Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Rahlves, a three-time Olympian, was timed in 1:18.80 over the 2K course down Sugarloaf's Narrow Gauge racing trail. Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA), a two-time Olympian, was the silver medalist in 1:19.11 while T.J. Lanning (Park City, UT) finished third in 1:19.55. Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH), who topped Rahlves Saturday in the U.S. downhill, was fourth (1:19.64).
A short time later, another Lake Tahoe Olympian, Stacey Cook (Truckee, CA), won her first title in the women's SG while Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) saw her string of 11 straight U.S. championships podiums snapped as she finished fourth. For the women, Cook's gold-medal time was 1:23.90 with Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) second in 1:24.01 and Kaylin Richardson (Edina, MN) third, another .03 back. Mancuso finished in 1:24.38.
Rahlves started, ended with super G
He was a student at Vermont's Green Mountain Valley School in the early Nineties when Rahlves won the super G title in the Eastern Cup development series. Turning the final page on his racing career with a win in super G, he said, "is cool. That's where I've had the most success. Super G, it's kind of where my ski racing career started. Early on, when I ever thought about winning a World Cup race, it would have been a super G event.
"Here, I won a NorAm a long time ago. To finish it off with another super G win here at Sugarloaf," he continued, "it feels good. It's a great hill, there's a lot of good terrain, hard snow. It's kind of what us racers like, to come back to the East Coast and throw a few turns on this boilerplate."
At the end, the emotional tug of his final race seeped into his thinking, Rahlves conceded. "Today's the first time I started high-fiving guys in the start and was, 'All right, last ride down. This wraps it up on super G skis.'
"It's the first time I let myself actually let it settle in: 'Yeah, this is it.' That was even more of a motivational factor to come out and try to throw it down today. It felt good."
Racing No. 2 in the field of 87, Rahlves knew he wouldn't be able to get any course reports, so he knew he would have to "do my own thing, and hopefully it would come off all right. I had a few mistakes in two turns, but I kept the skis clean. That's the most important thing there, keeping the skis clean...
"I skied the right line top to bottom."[pagebreak]Rahlves filled quite a trophy case
His collection of U.S. gold medals includes four SG titles (2000, '04, '05, '06), the 2001 downhill championship and two giant slalom titles, including 1996 at Sugarloaf after winning his first title at Park City, Utah, in 1995. He also has nine World Cup downhill victories (most by any U.S. man) and three World Cup super G wins (tied with Bode Miller) in addition to gold in super G at the 2001 World Championships, silver in downhill and bronze in GS at the 2005 Worlds.
Head Coach Phil McNichol had mixed emotions, sad to see Rahlves go but tickled that he went out a winner with a solid run. "Daron is the best we have to offer, the absolute epitome of professionalism. He's the ideal athlete, in my opinion - easy going, likes to have fun - and knows how to have it, but he's supremely focused and supremely disciplined. He's probably the greatest athlete I've had the pleasure of working with.
"It's nice when you have an athlete you want to help so much because of his or her approach and the way they handle themselves. You're willing to do just about anything - get betterr at your job, work long hours, whatever you can do to complement everything that athlete's already doing and will do to become the best. It's redundant to say he's going to be missed," McNichol said.
Longtime men's DH/SG Head Coach "Johno" McBride, who also is retiring, said in a telephone call, "Of course he won. You don't think 'D' would let Bode or anyone else beat him in his last race, do you? It wasn't going to happen."
The Banknorth championships continue Monday with slalom and conclude for the men on Tuesday with GS. Victory is worth $3,000 with $1,500 for second place and $750 for third.[pagebreak]2006 TD BANKBORTH U.S. ALPINE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sugarloaf, ME - March 26, 2006
Men's Super G
1. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, Calif., 1:18.80
2. Scott Macartney, Redmond, Wash., 1:19.11
3. T.J. Lanning, Park City, Utah, 1:19.55
4. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, N.H., 1:19.64
5. Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, N.Y., 1:20.40
6. Steve Nyman, Orem, Utah, 1:20.45
7. JJ Johnson, Park City, Utah, 1:20.58
8. Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, Calif., 1:20.65
9. Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Canada, 1:21.06
10. Chris Beckman, Altamont, N.Y., 1:21.26