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Sochi Express: Alpine skiers grab the last seats on Team USA train to Olympics

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The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association nominated 20 skiers today to the 2014 U.S. Winter Olympics team.

Based on its allotted quota, as determined by FIS criteria, the federation was fortunate to tap more athletes than originally anticipated.

Leading the contingent on this “Sochi Express” are Olympics gold medalists Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, and Julia Mancuso. Olympics medalist Lindsey Vonn recently withdrew from competition due to a knee injury this Sochi Olympics qualification season.

Yet, upstaging these veterans is 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin who has won three FIS World Cup slalom events this season. She is currently ranked sixth in the overall world standings despite only competing in the slalom and grand slalom events.

The remaining 16 athletes selected practically represent the entire U.S. Alpine Team which has competed in several world cup competitions this season.

Ten past Olympians were nominated: Steve Nyman, Marco Sullivan, Andrew Weibrecht, Erik Fisher, Tim Jitloff, Nolan Kasper, Stacey Cook, Leanne Smith, Resi Steigler, and Megan McJames.

Other newly anointed Olympians include: Julia Ford, Laurenne Ross, Jacqueline Wiles, David Chodounsky, Travis Ganong, and Jared Goldberg.

Overall, their world cup rankings range from sixth down to the latter part of the top hundred.

While several did not meet the federation’s selection criteria of a top-ten placement within a World Cup race, they were relieved at the cards that Team USA was dealt. Several women and men felt they were “on the bubble” due to somewhat lackluster performances this Olympics qualifying season.

“It was maybe a little bit of a rough start in some of the areas,” said USSA Alpine Director Patrick Riml. We’re on a really good track right now. All the programs, both the tech and speed athletes, are showing really good improvements and progressions. I’m very pleased with where we are right now going into the Games.”

The U.S. Olympic Committee is scheduled to officially approve the 200+ Winter Olympics athletes tomorrow, who have been nominated by their federations over the last few months. These fortunate athletes will soon be travelling to Sochi, Russia to fulfill their dreams.

Subscribe to all my articles on Team USA as it prepares for the controversial and exciting Winter Olympics.

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