February 12, 2007
ARE, Sweden (USST Press Release)—Olympic giant slalom champion Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) leads the U.S. Ski Team foursome Tuesday night in the first under-the-lights GS at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The first run begins at 11 a.m. ET and the second run is scheduled to get underway at 2 p.m. ET, which is ideal timing for U.S. Ski Team fans following the live coverage on NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com who are providing live coverage of every race through the end of the championships Sunday. There also is live interval timing available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.Joining Mancuso - bronze medalist in GS at the 2005 Worlds before earning gold last February at the Olympics in Italy - will be Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY), Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA) and, competing in her first World Championships race, Jessica Kelley (Starksboro, VT).
"Julia's ready. She's got her game-day face, got her big-race attitude...and if the others can bring into the race what they've been doing in training, we could have some pretty impressive results," tech Head Coach Chris Knight said Monday night.
"They've been fast in training," Knight said. "Nothing worries me about (the course). It's perfect. I think after 92 girls you could probably have the fastest time down it - it's that dense and hard snow. It won't really get rutted up."
Mancuso starts No. 3 - after Canadian Gen Simard and Sweden's unstoppable Anja Paerson, who is chasing her fourth gold medal of the championships. Ludlow runs 28th with Kelley 33rd and Stiegler starting No. 48.
The weather forecast for Are, which was plagued by sub-zero cold and changing weather with a meteorological inversion through its first week, is for limited cloud cover "but with those lights, it won't be a problem. It's like day up there," Knight said. Just to be sure, after training GS during the day, U.S. women free-skied the race hill late Monday after dark fell.
Meanwhile, the men race GS Wednesday. The first qualification race in Worlds history was held Monday. The top 25 skiers from a field of 101 were to be added to the top 50, according to the World Cup Start List for GS, a ranking which includes results from the previous 365 days. Because of the sheer logistics of oversize fields, FIS also implemented a qualification race Thursday for the men's slalom.