Alpine skiers making run at podium
The 2010 U.S. Paralympic Alpine Skiing Team has solid talent depth, including a mix of veteran athletes and some new faces on the roster. With 24 athletes, alpine skiing is the largest nominated team to represent the United States and is hoping to make a splash in Vancouver.
Head coach Ray Watkins is excited about his team's talent and said, "We have a lot of veterans who are going to the Paralympics, they have been through this time and time again and know the drill, and they're ready to go. "We also have a lot of new people on the team who can make a name for themselves. "The plan is to go out, do the job and focus on performing; this is their opportunity to shine. "It's the biggest event as a team and people remember the Paralympics, we're prepared and ready to go."
The U.S. will rely on the talent of veterans Allison Jones, Laurie Stephens and Stephani Victor on the women's side. Jones captured the gold in the women's slalom (standing competition) at the last Paralympic Games while Victor also won gold in the women's slalom (sitting). Stephens was one of the most decorated athletes at the 2006 Torino Winter Games, placing first in both the women's downhill and women's super G sitting events and earned silver in the giant slalom sitting.
On the men's side Chris Devlin-Young and Monte Meier's experience is expected to propel the men to the podium. Devlin-Young placed second in the men's downhill (sitting) in 2006. Meier is competing in his fifth Paralympic Games and hoping to improve his eighth place finish is slalom and 17th place finishes in the downhill and super G in Torino, Italy.
Without the return of bronze medalist Sandy Dukat and gold medalist Kevin Bramble, newcomers Alana Nichols and Tyler Walker are eager to step up and use their skills in support of the United States. Nichols is coming off an impressive World Cup performance winning the downhill sitting, and placing second and third in the super combined and super G sitting events. Earlier this year in Sestriere, Italy. Walker earned gold as a Mono Skier at the Winter X-Games. He was also featured in skiing legend Warren Miller's latest skiing film "Dynasty".
Husband and wife duo Danelle and Rob Umstead are making their first appearance at the Paralympic Games. Danelle and Rob, her guide, have produced solid results in the past two World Cup competitions.
As the largest entered team, American Paralympic skiers are expected to make several podium finishes in Vancouver. The talented squad knows how to compete and is excited to outperform their competition.