Alpine

Canadians Take Silver at Team Event

by
USSA
2015-02-10 18:37
 

During Tuesday’s FIS Alpine World Ski Championships nations team event, the Canadians stole the show with a silver medal, defeated by the indelible Austrians. Run on Vail’s Golden Peak, the crowd was big, with cheering spectators lining the sides of course. The American team made it to the first two rounds, but was ousted in the quarterfinals, tying for fifth with Italy, France and Norway.

DETAILS: WHAT EXACTLY IS THE NATIONS TEAM EVENT?

The team event has become a highlight of the spectator’s World Champs—a fun distraction from the serious nature of the preceding speed events. Run more like a NASTAR race or the old pro tour events, the race is a dual paneled slalom with pro jumps—pitting a racer from one country against another. With times coming in between 22 and 24 seconds, athletes squeaked out wins by hundredths of a second. The discipline may even become an Olympic event, with the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach hinting that he had been discussing the team event with FIS.  

The first round pitted USA against Finland, which the U.S. took handily. Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN) was victorious against Kristiina Rove, David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) won against Eemeli Pirinen and Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO) took the win against Merle Soppela. Already qualified for the next round at that point, Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) lost his race by 0.07 seconds to Joonas Raasnen.

After a successful first round, the coaches decided to have Moltzan, Shiffrin, Chodounsky and Ligety race the second round, as well. Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) and Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA)—also named to the team event squad—waited in the bullpen.


Ted Ligety races against Finland's Joonas Rasanen in the first round. (Getty Images-AFP/Mark Ralston)

In the quarterfinals, the tricky, rutted-out course got the best of the Americans against Sweden. Both Moltzan and Chodounsky did not finish the race, which brought it down to Shiffrin and Ligety. Shiffrin narrowly won against Maria Pietilae-Holmner, but after getting stuck in the start gate, Ligety couldn’t keep up to the quick Mattias Hargin.

With the Americans out of the game, the fans turned to the Canadian underdogs to keep the North American dream alive. The semifinals put them against Sweden, and they took it easily. In turn, the Austrians beat Switzerland.

Finally, it came head-to-head with the Austrians and Canadians. But after a few mistakes on the short course, the Canadians couldn’t keep up. The Austrians won the gold and the Canadians grabbed their second medal of the event. Sweden took bronze.

The races will resume on Thursday, with the women’s GS taking place back at Beaver Creek, CO. Universal Sports will air the first run at 11:55 a.m. EST and NBCSN will show the second run at 4:00 p.m. EST.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The team event has been held in a knockout format during the last two World Championships.
  • Austria is the only nation to have won a medal in all five nations team events.
  • France is the only country to beat Austria in the team event.
  • The American team in the nations team event: Mikaela Shiffrin, Julia Mancuso, Paula Moltzan, Ted Ligety, David Chodounsky and Will Brandenburg.

QUOTES
Mikaela Shiffrin
This race is about quick feet. And the crowd is having so much fun because they get to see ski racing for two hours straight. It’s a consistent event. It’s really fun for the athletes too—to have a team to depend on and perform for. Also to be going up against someone who is right next to you the whole time is a totally different feel.

I’m really excited about the GS. I want to ski free. I was a little nervous in the first run today and I hate being nervous. Second run, I was like, what’s the point. If I’m going to be nervous and ski tense, then I shouldn’t even be here out. So I loosened up and put my best effort out there and that’s what I’m going to do for the GS. It was still a lot of fun.

I’m good to go. I’m feeling really healthy. Now it’s just about keeping my energy together for the slalom. I’m trying to be smart about which days I ski and which days I don’t. Obviously I have to ski on race day and I want to put 100 percent of my energy out there.

This race was a really good warm up. As I said, I was nervous, so it was good to get over the nervous barrier. Hopefully I stay over it!

Patrick Riml
It was definitely a great event. And it was an exciting event. These kind of events are very important in our sport. We had a really good training session this morning. I was very pleased with our performance of the fist round. The Swedes are a great team.

Especially with the distances, the race favors the slalom skier. Julia [Mancuso] has had great success in the past in team events. I was very confident when we saw them training this morning. But I felt confident that Paula had good speed and she showed that first run. We put her in the second run and we would have made a decision after that about the next run.

We had a GS last year on the Birds of Prey. I think it’s a great venue and a great hill with terrain changes and drop-offs over Golden Eagle and Red Tail. Mikaela did a great job last year finishing second. Lindsey [Vonn] is preparing for it, as well as Julia [Mancuso] and Megan McJames. It’s a hill that really fits us and I’m looking forward to going to that GS. 

David Chodounsky
I had fun. I love these events. It’s something different than individual racing that’s all about you. It’s really cool. It gets your mind a little outside. I was hoping we’d go further. We had a lot of potential, and it didn’t work out.

I think it’s worth it [to have the team event as an Olympic event]. I think it’s exciting. The fans love it and we love it. I’m for it.

Ted Ligety
It would have been nice to make it a little bit further in this for the home crowd. It’s something we don’t train a lot of, so it’s definitely difficult. It’s a big twist.

RESULTS
Team event results

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