Monday, March 10, 2008

Miller, Vonn, Ligety Making it Happen

If you have not been paying attention the the Alpine Skiing World Cup, it is time to wake up and smell the victory! Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn, and Ted Ligety are three Americans who are tearing up the World Cup circuit, and showing the world what US racers are capable of.

Miller and Ligety both grew up with access to fairly large mountains, but Lindsey Vonn grew up racing at Buck Hill in Minnesota. It's a relatively small hill that has produced many great US females, including Kristina Koznick, and more recently, Sterling Grant.

I'm getting off track, but I mention Buck Hill because it is a small hill, like our own Hidden Valley. On Saturday, we had a former Hidden Valley skier, Robby Reid, come to visit us. He is now the conditioning coach for the Norwegian National Ski Team (maybe you've heard of them). One of the things he stressed with us was that most of the Norwegian racers come from around Oslo, where there is nothing but small hills, like Hidden Valley. You don't need a big hill to build great racers if you know how to use what you have. In fact, Aksel Lund Svindal came from a small town 25 km north of Oslo, and he won the overall World Cup title last year.

So I guess what I'm saying is big time skiers can come from small hills. People like Vonn and Svindal prove it. Watch out!

Anyway, getting back to topic, Miller and Vonn lead the men's and women's overall World Cup standings by relatively comfortable margins (about 160 each), and Ligety just took the red bib for GS (meaning he's #1 in Giant Slalom).

Julia Mancuso is 7th in the overall points standings for women, which is outstanding, and Resi Stiegler is 39th, even though she hasn't raced since getting injured in December. She had already collected 111 points in slalom by that point. Watch out for her next year!

Ligety is in a tight race with Raich and Moelgg for the GS title, but if he can pull it off, he will accomplish what he set his mind to do at the beginning of the season. He said he wanted to focus on winning the GS globe. Let's hear it for setting a goal and making it happen!

If Miller can wrap up this season with the overall title, it will be his second, pushing him up the list of overall globe winners to join Stephan Eberharter and Lasse Kjus, who also had two overall globes.

If Vonn can tie it up, she will be only the second US female to win the overall title. The first was Tamara McKinney in 1983. A notable difference is that Tamara won hers in the technical disciplines, slalom and giant slalom. Lindsey is a speed specialist, and in particular, she is the standard for women's downhill, utterly dominating that discipline with 755 points! The nearest competitor is Renate Goetschl with 448.

Lindsey's downhills this season go: 1st, 4th, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 5th, 1st, 2nd, 1st. Yeah, I call that utterly dominating. I'd like to also mention that she is totally hot.

Here come the Alpine World Championships!

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