Countries battled head-to-head in the World Championships Team Event. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Hans Bezard)
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Feb. 14, 2017) – It was a gorgeous day for the team event at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships—a thrilling head-to-head race pitting one country against another. This year, France was victorious, taking home the gold medal for their country.
Behind France, Slovakia was second and Sweden third in the event that will be featured for the first time in the Olympic Games in 2018.
The USA squad consisted of six athletes—four racers and two alternates: Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY), Megan McJames (Park City, UT), Mark Engel (Truckee, CA), AJ Ginnis (Vouliagmeni, Greece), Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) and Michael Ankeny (Deephaven, MN). In the first round, Stiegler, McJames, Engel and Ginnis went up against Canada—the team event silver medalists at the 2015 Vail/Beaver Creek World Championships. Stiegler and Ginnis won their races, McJames was beaten by her Canadian opponent and Engel straddled and lost a ski at the top of the course, which led the two teams to tie. But a tiebreaker—which looks at the matchups between the fastest man and woman races—meant Canada took the first-round win by .01 seconds.
(l-r) Megan McJames, Resi Stiegler, AJ Ginnis and Mark Engel smile after the team event.
Stiegler was still bubbly after the race and is excited about getting the tech week started. “It’s awesome to be with the team and get the World Championships going for us,” she said. “We’re just getting the cobwebs out, the race vibes going. I’m bummed that we didn’t make it, but that’s ski racing and we’re going to come back out and do better in the other events.”
Ginnis, who was competing in his first World Championships, echoed Stiegler’s sentiments. “It’s a really fun event,” he said. “The atmosphere—the fact that you get to race with girls and guys and it’s a team effort is really cool. It doesn’t matter if two of them go out, you gotta put the pedal to the metal and get two fast runs!”
Next up, the tech skiers are in action in St. Moritz, with the women’s giant slalom taking place on Thursday and the men’s GS on Friday.
France won the team event in St. Moritz—their first medal of the 2017 World Championships.
USA was knocked out in the first round by Canada.
Austria had won the last two team event medals in the World Championships and came in as the favorite, but was beaten by the Swedes in an early round.
Switzerland leads the St. Moritz World Championships medal count with six.
Veteran team event racers like Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) and David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) chose to focus on the upcoming tech events, rather than compete in Tuesday’s race.
Tech races begin on Thursday with the women’s giant slalom.
I think it’s nice to be in the gate. It’s awesome to be with the team and get the World Championships going for us because we’re in the second week. We’re just getting the cobwebs out, the race vibes going. I’m bummed that we didn’t make it, but that’s ski racing and we’re going to come back out and do better in the other events.
AJ Ginnis It’s a really fun event. The atmosphere—the fact that you get to race with girls and guys and it’s a team effort is really cool. It doesn’t matter if two of them go out, you gotta put the pedal to the metal and get two fast runs!
Megan McJames We’ll be back and better next time!
Mark Engel I’m a little disappointed with today, but it’s a really fun event and I know that we can all ski fast.