US Olympic Alpine Ski Team announced | TheUnion.com

US Olympic Alpine Ski Team announced

Submitted to The Union

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin speeds down the course during the women's World Cup super-G ski race in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy. Past Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn, Shiffrin, Ted Ligety and Andrew Weibrecht are among the 22 ski racers named to the U.S. Alpine team heading to the Pyeongchang Games.

Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety, and two-time medalist Andrew Weibrecht will lead a strong U.S. Alpine Ski Team of 22 men and women at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

U.S. Ski and Snowboard announced its selections for the U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team that will compete at the Games in PyeongChang beginning February 9. The selections will be confirmed by the United States Olympic Committee when it formally names Team USA Friday.

The team includes 22 athletes who qualified for the team through one or more top-three finishes, top five finishes, and top 10 finishes, and then World Cup points. Qualification included 2017-18 FIS World Cup races through Cortina, Italy and Kitzbuehel, Austria on Jan. 20-21.

"A big group of people have worked very hard to enable us to put together such a strong alpine race team for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games," Alpine director Patrick Riml said. "We have a good mix of veterans, Olympic champions who know what it takes to win at the highest level, and new, younger talent who have consistently shown throughout the qualifying process that they are ready now to fly the flag for the USA at the greatest competition of all.

Over the last three months of competition, our preparation for the Games has been meticulous and we go to South Korea feeling confident about our chances. I am pleased with the strength of our team and know that every member of the staff will work hard to ensure athletes maximize their potential and execute on the plan. We also know that we are going to the Games with the cheers of the American public ringing in our ears, and that is a very proud feeling for the whole team."

The alpine team will have its first Olympic competition on February 11 with the men's downhill. The women will kick it off with the giant slalom on February 12.

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BIG NAMES AT THE GAMES

The winningest female ski racer of all time, Lindsey Vonn won Olympic gold in downhill in Vancouver in 2010, but was sidelined with an injury and did not compete in Sochi. She is coming back with a vengeance, on a hunt for Olympic gold once again. Vonn will be competing in her fourth Olympics and finished second in both the downhill and super-G Olympic test events in 2017. Vonn has been named the first international PyeongChang 2018 Games Ambassador. She's won 79 World Cup races in all five disciplines of alpine skiing – downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom and alpine combined – in her career.

"I'm incredibly excited to be going to my fourth Olympics," Vonn said. "I've been waiting for these Games since I was injured, before Sochi, so it's been about eight years. I'm very proud to represent America, I'm proud to be on this team with so many amazing athletes, and I look forward to competing."

Mikaela Shiffrin is arguably one of the most dominant athletes in world sport competing today. Mikaela won the 2016-17 overall and slalom FIS Ski World Cup titles, and currently leads the 2017-18 overall, slalom and giant slalom World Cup standings. She became the youngest woman in U.S. history to win a World Championship and the youngest athlete in history (male or female) to win an Olympic gold medal in Sochi. Shiffrin has a hat-trick of World Championship gold medals in slalom – 2013, 2015 and 2017.

"I'm honored to represent my country in my second Olympic Winter Games alongside some of the top athletes of the Games including Lindsey, Ted, and Andrew," said Shiffrin. "This has already been a wonderful season, and going to the Games is almost like the cherry on top of the cake! I am very excited about getting back to PyeongChang, and I'm looking forward to racing against so many incredible competitors on the biggest stage of them all. I will be taking it one event at a time, exactly as I do in the World Cup events."

Known as "Mr. GS," two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety underwent back surgery in January 2017, causing him to miss the rest of the 2016-17 season. The YongPyong Alpine Centre is a special venue for Ligety as it is the home of his very first World Cup giant slalom victory in 2006. He won his first Olympic gold in 2006 in the alpine combined in Torino, then again in his main discipline, giant slalom, in 2014 in Sochi.

"I'm excited to be going to my fourth Olympics," Ligety said. "It's definitely been a fun journey over all these years, and to be able to go to an Olympics where I actually had my first World Cup win ever, it's really fun to be able to revisit that hill. The last time I raced on that hill was in 2006 and that was my first World Cup win. So to go from being a rookie back in 2006, to now being in my fourth Olympics is pretty crazy to see how far I've come."

Andrew Weibrecht grabbed the 2010 Olympic super-G bronze medal, and then in 2014, produced a truly inspirational run to claim silver. Nicknamed "Warhorse", he has a knack for performing when it matters most – on the big stage.

The U.S. men's American downhill racers are a strong and tight group of athletes. Veteran Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah) suffered a knee injury in 2017 and is making a strong comeback for PyeongChang. In the 2016 Olympic test event, Nyman finished third in the downhill. Promising young talent like Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.) – who will make his Olympic debut – as well as Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah), also look to make their mark.

Just 10 months after a significant knee injury, Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.) has made an impressive return to competition and continues to have her eyes on the prize in PyeongChang.

Resi Stiegler (Jackson, Wyo.) clinched her spot on a third Olympic team. Her father, Austrian Pepi Stiegler, was an Olympic Gold medalist in slalom in Innsbruck in 1964.

Young up-and-comers Breezy Johnson (Victor, Idaho), and Lindsey Vonn Foundation ambassador Jackie Wiles (Aurora, Ore.) also look to make an impression in PyeongChang.

2018 U.S. OLYMPIC ALPINE SKIING TEAM

Men’s Alpine

Bryce Bennett, Squaw Valley, Calif. (7/14/1992)

Tommy Biesemeyer, Keene, N.Y. (1/30/1989)

David Chodounsky, Crested Butte, Colo. (6/25/1984)*

Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Starksboro, Vt. (3/27/1992)

Mark Engel, Truckee, Calif. (10/1/1991)

Tommy Ford, Bend, Ore. (3/20/1989)*

Jared Goldberg, Holladay, Utah (6/15/1991)*

Tim Jitloff, Reno, Nev. (1/11/1985)*

Nolan Kasper, Warren, Vt. (3/27/1989)*

Ted Ligety, Park City, Utah (8/31/1984)*

Wiley Maple, Aspen, Colo. (5/25/1990)

Steven Nyman, Sundance, Utah (2/12/1982)*

Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, N.Y. (2/10/1986)*

Women’s Alpine

Stacey Cook, Mammoth Lakes, Calif. (7/3/1984)*

Breezy Johnson, Victor, Idaho (1/19/1996)

Megan McJames, Park City, Utah (9/24/1987)*

Alice McKennis, New Castle, Colo. (8/18/1989)*

Laurenne Ross, Bend, Ore. (8/17/1988)*

Mikaela Shiffrin, Eagle-Vail, Colo. (3/13/1995)*

Resi Stiegler, Jackson, Wyo. (11/14/1985)*

Lindsey Vonn, Vail, Colo. (10/18/1984)*

Jackie Wiles, Aurora, Ore. (7/13/1992)*

* Competed in past Olympics

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