It appeared like pure Hollywood fantasy when Robert Redford’s character beat the favored Austrian to win Olympic gold within the basic Alpine snowboarding movie “Downhill Racer,” a film launched greater than half a century in the past.
Today, the U.S. ski workforce doesn’t want any particular results. It has the expertise to win in a sport historically dominated by a handful of European nations.
When Mikaela Shiffrin broke Lindsey Vonn’s record for most ladies’s World Cup wins together with her 83rd victory on Tuesday in a giant slalom, it was solely the newest exploit by an American workforce that has been producing success after success on the circuit since Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller began all of it off greater than 20 years in the past.
Then Vonn and Julia Mancuso burst onto the scene on the ladies’s circuit, Ted Ligety gained a shock Olympic gold medal lengthy earlier than he grew to become the World Cup’s main large slalom skier, and Miller, Ligety, Vonn and Mancuso had been all nonetheless racing when Shiffrin emerged because the workforce’s subsequent — and ultimately the world’s — prime skier.
Gretchen Fraser and Andrea Mead Lawrence gained the primary two Olympic slaloms for ladies in 1948 and 1952, respectively. Mead Lawrence additionally gained large slalom in 1952.
The primary American man to win Olympic gold in Alpine snowboarding was Invoice Johnson in downhill on the 1984 Sarajevo Video games. Three days later, brothers Phil and Steve Mahre took gold and silver, respectively, within the slalom.
Phil Mahre additionally grew to become the primary American to win the general World Cup title — thought of by many inside ski racing as the game’s best prize — in 1981, ’82 and ’83.
Tamara McKinney was the primary American lady to win the general title in 1983.
It took greater than twenty years earlier than one other American gained the general, with Miller securing the primary of his two titles in 2005.
DARON AND BODE
Earlier than Miller began successful, it was Rahlves who emerged as a contender in downhill. The pair pushed one another to new heights, as Miller and Rahlves completed 1-2 within the downhill on the 2005 world championships in Bormio, Italy, the place Miller additionally gained the super-G.
A 12 months later, a 21-year-old Ligety was the shock winner of the mixed — an occasion that provides the occasions from downhill and slalom runs — to turn out to be the primary American man to win an Olympic Alpine snowboarding medal in a dozen years, since Tommy Moe gained the downhill in 1994.
BODE THE REBEL
When Miller rebelled over the U.S. workforce’s refusal to let him sleep in his private motor residence slightly than the workforce resort, he left the workforce and fashioned his personal private squad, paying coaches out of his personal pocket.
The transfer paid off as Miller gained his second general title along with his private workforce in 2008, the 12 months that Vonn gained the primary of her 4 titles, and he topped his profession with gold within the 2010 Olympic mixed.
In an indication of how Miller’s strikes paved the best way for future success, Shiffrin now has her personal private workforce and coaches, however her squad features below the umbrella of the U.S. workforce and is funded by the American federation.
Each born in 1984, Vonn and Mancuso began racing towards one another as children and saved their rivalry going till they each emerged on the World Cup circuit at about the identical time.
It was Mancuso who gained the larger titles, first, although.
When Mancuso took two bronze medals on the 2005 worlds and Vonn completed fourth twice, Vonn — then identified by her maiden identify, Lindsey Kildow — was lowered to tears.
Mancuso additionally gained the enormous slalom on the 2006 Turin Olympics after which almost gained the general title in 2007, earlier than Vonn grew to become the rather more profitable racer the following season and gained three straight general trophies.
Nonetheless, Vonn needed to wait till 2010 for her first, and solely, Olympic gold, when she gained the downhill on the Vancouver Video games.
Mancuso struggled with hip and again points for the remainder of her profession however nonetheless ended with 4 Olympic medals, probably the most by an American lady.
Whereas it was primarily his slalom expertise that helped him to mixed gold in 2006, it was large slalom that grew to become Ligety’s specialty.
Ligety gained the season-long World Cup large slalom title 5 occasions, took three straight golds at worlds within the self-discipline between 2011 and 2015 and claimed Olympic gold in GS in 2014. At one level throughout that stretch he was successful races by such large margins that he grew to become often known as “Mr. GS.”
It was throughout that interval that Ligety responded to new tools guidelines by growing an attention grabbing model whereby he arched rounder however smoother turns, inclining and leaning down so low that he swept the snow along with his gloves.
With so many stars on the workforce, success trickled right down to different racers like Andrew Weibrecht, Breezy Johnson and Ryan Cochran-Siegle.
Weibrecht gained two Olympic medals in tremendous G — bronze in 2010 and silver in 2014 — and Cochran-Siegle took silver in the identical occasion ultimately 12 months’s Beijing Video games to match his mom, Barbara Ann Cochran, as an Olympic medalist.
Johnson, in the meantime, has adopted Vonn because the workforce’s prime downhiller with seven World Cup podium outcomes.
Nina O’Brien was poised to interrupt by way of earlier than an unpleasant damage ultimately 12 months’s Beijing Olympics and is now regaining her type, and Paula Moltzan completed second behind Shiffrin for her first slalom podium final month.
Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf
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