The U.S. Alpine Ski Team looks ahead to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games after its most successful Olympic Games in team history with eight medals at the Vancouver Games. Anchored by veteran gold medalists Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller, Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso, the team has also experienced a recent surge from FIS Alpine World Cup podium finishers Stacey Cook, Marco Sullivan, Steven Nyman and 17-year-old phenom Mikaela Shiffrin.
The Olympic alpine competition consists of five events each for men and women, including downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G and super combined. The same rules apply for both men and women in each discipline, but the courses differ. American alpine athletes will be in medal contention for every event hosted at the Sochi Games, with 10 sets of medals up for grabs.
Team USA’s success has stemmed from strong athletic training partners, most notably the game-changing speed center at Copper Mountain, Colo., and the European training base at Soelden, Austria. In addition, the team's recent rise to being one of the best in the world has grown out of strong leadership on all levels – particularly through coaching and athlete leadership.
All alpine events for the Sochi Games will be held at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center, located at the Aibga Ridge rising above the Mzymta River. The slopes were developed by Bernard Russi, a world-renowned ski architect from the FIS. The total length of the competition track is 20 kilometers and the venue can hold 7,500 spectators.
The alpine resort is already a major alpine skiing center in the Northern Caucasus region and has hosted several major international competitions. The first phase of the facility opened in November 2010 for test events.
The U.S. can receive up to 22 quota spots in alpine skiing for the Sochi Games, which can include a max of 14 athletes of either gender and up to four competitors per event. The U.S. is expected to get all 22 spots, based on athletes meeting the A qualification standard of being ranked in the top 500 in their respective event on the Olympic FIS Points List, which is published at the end of the qualification period on Jan. 20, 2014 (the qualification period began in July 2012).
Athletes are selected for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team based on objective criteria, generally through rankings and results in the FIS Alpine World Cup tour. The qualification period opens in October 2013 and closes at the end of January 2014.
|Feb. 20-24||Audi FIS Alpine Women’s World Cup||Méribel, France|
|Feb. 20-24||Audi FIS Alpine Men’s World Cup||Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany|
|Feb. 28-March 3||Audi FIS Alpine Women’s World Cup||Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany|
|Feb. 28-March 3||Audi FIS Alpine Men’s World Cup||Kvitfjell, Norway|
|March 9-10||Audi FIS Alpine Women’s World Cup||Offerschwang, Germany|
|March 9-10||Audi FIS Alpine Men’s World Cup||Kranjska Gore, Slovenia|
|March 11-17||Audi FIS Alpine World Cup||Lenzerheide, Switzerland|
|Oct. 26-27||Audi FIS Alpine World Cup opener||Soelden, Austria|
|Oct. 31||U.S. Ski Team Speed Center opening||Copper Mountain, Colo.|
|Nov. 7-15||Audi FIS Alpine World Cup||Beaver Creek, Colo.|
|Nov. 15||First Tracks (Olympic Team naming event)|
|Jan. 28||Final day to qualify for the Olympic Team|