U.S. Ski Team announced for 2014-15 season
COPPER MOUNTAIN — Hundreds of cheering fans ushered in the U.S. Ski Team on Saturday as the team was officially named for the 2014-15 season.
This year’s team-naming ceremony was especially significant for the U.S. Ski Team athletes and their fans, as many of the athletes named also will compete on home snow at the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek in February.
After making their way through a tunnel of fans to the stage at the base of the ski area at Copper Mountain, Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller, Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety and Andrew Weibrecht spoke to the crowd about the significance of the upcoming 2014-15 season.
“I’m about as excited as you can be,” Shiffrin said. “World Championships are in my home town in Vail/Beaver Creek.”
Vonn seemed to garner the most cheers from fans, who were excited about what the superstar’s season can bring now that she’s recovered from a knee injury sustained in February 2013.
“I’m back and I’m ready for the season,” Vonn said to an explosion of cheers. “The World Championships are at home, and that’s what kept me going.”
Though a “Born in the USA” mashup played during the U.S. Ski Team announcement, the crowd was an international one.
Members of the Tokai University ski team, of Japan, scurried through the crowd, and watching from a distance, Sarah Schleper, of the Mexican Ski Team, enjoyed the celebration.
Schleper is a Vail native slalom and giant slalom skier who competed at the ’98, ’02, ’06 and ’10 Olympics, and has returned to the sport to compete at the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships for Team Mexico. Schleper’s husband, Federico Gaxiola, is a Mexican national.
Pulling Schleper aside for a picture was Camlyn Goosen, 14, of Johannesburg, South Africa. Goosen won’t be able to see Schleper compete in February because she’ll be ski racing in Turkey and Croatia during the World Championships. Regardless, said her father, Warwick Goosen, it’s still very exciting for ski racing fans to see a U.S. racer branch out into the rest of the Americas for World Championships.
“It is so cool how she’s competing for the Mexicans now,” Warwick Goosen said.
Young racers like Camlyn Goosen were sharing the training grounds at Copper Mountain with the pro skiers during the week.
“I’ve run into a couple kids up there already — sorry about that,” Bode Miller told the crowd.
The U.S. Team continued to train at Copper on Sunday before Shiffrin, Ligety and the technical specialists on the team head to Levi, Finland, for the first slalom of the 2014-15 World Cup season. Shiffrin and the women race Saturday, Ligety and the men race Sunday. The women head to Aspen at the end of the month for the Aspen Winternational World Cup races, and the men head to Beaver Creek early next month for the Birds of Prey World Cup.
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