Tarvisio, Italy, Feb. 27, 2002–Olympian Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA/Squaw Valley Ski Team/U.S. B Team) and Adam Cole (Park City, UT/Park City Ski Team/U.S. Development Team) made U.S. ski racing history Wednesday, becoming the first American racers to sweep an event — in this case, downhill — at the World Junior Championships.
“It was really exciting and the gold medals were great — Julia and Adam skied outstanding races — but,” said U.S. Development Head Coach Aldo Radamus, “we also were psyched about the depth of our good results.”
Jeremy Transue (Hunter, NY/Green Mountain Valley School/U.S. Development Team) was fourth in the men’s downhill, missing the podium by just .07 and U.S. racers Scott Nyman (Provo, UT/Park City Ski Team/Sundance) and Bryna McCarty (Barnett, VT/Burke Mountain Academy/U.S. Development Team) were both 13th in his and her DH. The last American downhill gold medallists at World Juniors were Mike Makar (1992 in Maribor, Slovenia) and Hilary Lindh (1986 in Bad Kleinkirchen, Austria).
Mancuso, a 17-year-old who was 13th in combined at the recently concluded Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, started sixth and overtook defending World Juniors DH champion Astrid Vierthaler of Austria to win in 1:29.81. Vierthaler, starting No. 5 and finishing in 1:29.95, led Austrians into the next three places among the field of 47 women under mostly overcast skies.
“Julia had won both training runs,” Radamus explained, “so we knew she was skiing hot and it wasn’t a total surprise. But she still laid down an outstanding run.”
In the men’s race, Austrian Mario Scheiber went 14th and had a nearly flawless run to take the lead in the field of 68 racers with a time of 1:27.23. Cole, running 17th, tore down the mountain in 1:26.85 for the gold medal with Transue, skiing No. 18, just missing a top-3 finish in 1:27.33.
“We took a real close look at the splits and all the guys around Adam just didn’t get to it. He did a great job and nailed all the important parts of the course,” Radamus explained. “Adam’s such a gamer and he really had a great run. And Jeremy had problems in one turn Tuesday but he won the top split today, including that turn, and he gave up just a little bit of time on the bottom third of the course or he’d’ve been in the top three, too?
“Everyone’s really excited. It’s a great day for the team, a terrific way to start the championships,” he said.
The one dark note to the day came before the races when Lindsey C. Kildow (Vail, CO/Ski Club Vail/U.S. B Team) fell during her pre-race warmup and injured a shin, forcing her out of the race and putting her on a day-to-day status. Radamus said X-rays showed no break but there was swelling and it was painful at her boot top.
The same six racers (the normal championships field of four plus two men and two women allowed to compete as ZK class (combined skier) racers) will run Thursday, weather permitting, in the super G. The World Junior Championships combined calculation includes results from Downhill, Giant Slalom and, Slalom.
The World Juniors races were relocated to this corner of northeastern Italy near the Austrian and Slovenian borders because of poor snow conditions in Narvik, Norway. After the super Gs in Tarvisio, the rest of the schedule includes: Friday: men’s giant slalom in Ravascletto and women’s slalom in Sella Nevea; Saturday: men’s slalom in Sella Nevea and women’s GS in Ravascletto; Sunday: weather backup day. Sella Nevea and women’s GS in Ravascletto; Sunday: weather backup day.
WORLD JUNIOR ALPINE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Tarvisio, Italy, Downhill, Feb. 27
1. Adam Cole, Park City, UT, 1:26.85
2. Mario Scheiber, Austria, 1:27.23
3. Aksel-Lund Svindal, Norway, 1:27.26
4. Jeremy Transue, Hunter, NY, 1:27.33
5. Thomas Trojer, Austria, 1:27.53
13. Steve Nyman, Provo, UT, 1:28.18
17. Kevin Francis, Bend, OR, 1:28.28
23. Jeff Harrison, Steilacom, WA, 1:28.98
26. TJ Lanning, Parrk City, UT, 1:29.26
1. Julia Mancuso, Squaw Valley, CA, 1:29.81
2. Astrid Vierthaler, Austria, 1:29.95
3. Nicole Hosp, Austria, 1:30.56
4. Daniela Mueller, Austria, 1:31.09
5. Kelly Vanderbeek, Canada, 1:31.20
13. Bryna McCarty, Barnett, VT, 1:32.52
17. Hilary McCloy, Waitsfield, VT, 1:33.20
28. Lauren Ross, Stowe, VT, 1:33.95
DNF: Rachel Roosevelt, Storrs, CT