Americans in hunt for super combined medals after slalom run
Laurie Stephens, who already has two bronze medals from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, is in position to medal in the super combined.
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia - Cloudy weather and drizzling rain postponed the super-G run of the super combined, but that didn’t deter Stephanie Jallen and Danelle Umstead from putting together solid slalom runs to end the day sitting in third place after the first event of the super combined at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.
While the super combined is normally comprised of one run of super-G and one run of slalom on the same day, the poor conditions caused the morning’s super-G run to be delayed multiple times before officials decided to hold the slalom run in the afternoon and postpone the super-G run to Friday.
Still riding a wave of excitement from her bronze medal in Monday’s super-G, Jallen (Harding, Pa.) put herself into excellent position in the women’s standing super combined. Jallen recorded the third-fastest time of the day in 57.98 seconds, only 4.5 seconds back from Marie Bochet of France who is in the lead.
Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is in the hunt for a super combined medal as well, as she finished the slalom run sitting in fifth place. Earlier in the week, Jones won bronze in the downhill. Melanie Schwartz (Aspen, Colo.) was one of several racers who were unable to finish the course and will not race in Friday’s super-G.
Danelle Umstead and guide Rob Umstead (Park City, Utah) finished third in the women’s visually impaired slalom. After today’s results with multiple athletes unable to record a clean slalom run, Umstead is guaranteed a medal in the super combined as long as she completes the super-G run on Friday.
Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Mass.) could bring home her third medal of the Games as she finished the women’s sitting slalom in fourth place. Stephens won bronze in the downhill and super-G earlier in the week.
Thick clouds rolled in to cover the course for the men’s sitting class, and less than half of the field was able to complete the course. Army veteran Heath Calhoun (Bristol, Tenn.) was able to navigate the course in the fourth-fastest time of the day to put himself in good position going into Friday’s super-G. Jasmin Bambur (Granby, Colo.) will not advance to the final run of the super combined, as he was unable to complete the slalom course.
Other men advancing to Friday’s super-G run include Jamie Stanton (Oakland Township, Mich.) who finished the men’s standing slalom in 15th place and Mark Bathum (Seattle, Wash.) with guide Cade Yamamoto (Quincy, Wash.) who finished fifth in the visually impaired slalom.
Team USA has won six medals in alpine skiing through Day 4— two silver and four bronze medals.
Alpine skiing competition resumes Wednesday with women’s slalom. Men's slalom will be held on Thursday, with the men's and women's super-G run of the super combined set for Friday. For complete results and more information, visit Sochi2014.com.
“Yesterday really helped my confidence if anything, because I was completely unsure how this week was going to turn out for me, being my first Games and all. I’m trying not to put everything that happened yesterday in my head. I just want to make it a clean slate and try to do it again. I’m sitting in a good position right now, and I’m just glad I get the opportunity to race again (Friday) and complete the combined race.”
“It was interesting. The weather being rainy postponed the super-G and we had the slalom first, which is a little different; I’ve never had that happen to me before. But for slalom, the visibility was fine today.”
“It was my goal to be down and be in the hunt so I could be close enough so I could play, and it is going to be a tough race still with a lot of good guys in the field, but all I can do is go for it and hope for the best at this point. Conditions were not ideal with the rain and the delays, but to see the fans come out and stick it out is pretty awesome, so you just do the best you can with it, that’s what we’re here for. This is what we do: we’re athletes and we deal with it.”
“For me, it was a fight the whole way. I never felt in sync, I never got in a good groove. Yesterday I felt like I had the best slalom training I’ve had all season, but today I felt like I was constantly looking where to go, so I was just out of sync.”