Four Squaw Valley athletes – Julia Mancuso, Travis Ganong, Nate Holland, Marco Sullivan – are all in Sochi and representing the U.S. Winter Olympics team.
Here’s a look at the four Squaw Valley athletes.
Julia Mancuso, skiing: Born in Reno, she was the gold medalist in the giant slalom at the 2006 Winter Olympics and the silver medalist in both downhill and combined at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
As a four-event athlete from the beginning, Mancuso started World Cup racing and was a NorAm champion at 16, competed in the Olympics at 17, set a U.S. mark for Junior World Championships medals before she was out of her teens, and then started her twenties by capturing two World Championships medals.
She splits her time between Squaw Valley, Hawaii and hotel rooms across the globe. In between, she has captured more major championship medals than any other American woman with eight – three Olympic and five World Championship.
Nate Holland, snowboarder cross: This will be Holland’s third Olympics. He competed for USA at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, where he finished 14th, and at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he finished fourth.
With seven X Games gold medals Nate Holland has enough precious metal to gild his driveway by now.
Born and raised in northern Idaho, Holland developed a taste for adventure at a young age that has carried him throughout his career. A snowboardcross specialist, Nate defines the sports chaotic style by going all-out in every race. The 2012 winter was no different for Holland, earning his seventh X Games gold, and two World Cup podiums before bowing out with a broken shoulder blade.
Travis Ganong, skiing: He knows how to pick a line down a racecourse and in the backcountry, but it was the line set by his older sisters, Megan and Ali, that helped reel him into ski racing.
Ganong launched his World Cup career in 2010 and has quickly become a leading member of the future downhill greats club. It’s not about points anymore for Ganong; it’s about when his first World Cup podium will happen.
The Squaw Valley charger posted top 30 finishes in all but two World Cup downhills last season, including a career best seventh on the gnarly Stelvio speed track in Bormio, Italy. Add it all up and he pinned a personal best 18th in the season-long downhill standings. He then celebrated by winning super G gold at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships held on his home snow in Squaw.
Marco Sullivan, skier: He grew up skiing in Lake Tahoe with skiing in his soul. He was on a ski hill in his earliest memory, coming down a snow-covered gravel hill in his backyard at three.
He learned to go fast on some of the gnarliest terrain at Squaw Valley and was a promising four-event skier before he started to concentrate on downhill. It’s all about the speed.
For Sullivan, the 2013 season proved to be his best since he rocked his first World Cup win in 2008. A season-opening downhill podium in Lake Louise set the pace for “Sully” to finish 14th in the season-long standings.
For a downhiller, being in the top 15 draw is prime real estate. What makes it even more impressive is that he opted to skip the Bormio, Italy DH.