Heath Calhoun, a U.S. Army veteran, won his first Paralympic medal on March 14.
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia - In a four-medal day for Team USA's alpine skiers, Army veteran Heath Calhoun and Mark Bathum won silver, while Stephanie Jallen and Danelle Umstead took bronze in the super combined at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.
"I just focused on skiing the best possible run that I could, and not on trying to win or get a medal, and it seemed to work out for me," Calhoun said. "Coming in and being able to get on the podium is great, this is the big show. I’ve spent the last eight years training for this, and it’s huge."
While the super combined is normally comprised of one run of super-G and one run of slalom on the same day, conditions earlier in the week resulted in the slalom being held on Tuesday evening and the super-G run three days later.
Retired Staff Sergeant Calhoun (Bristol, Tenn.) won his first-ever Paralympic medal after finishing fourth in Sunday’s individual super-G. Calhoun was in fourth and nearly a second back from the leader after the slalom, but with a strong super-G run he not only closed the gap on the lead but moved up to take silver in the men’s sitting class.
Bathum and guide Cade Yamamoto (Quincy, Wash.) won their second medal of the week after winning silver in the men’s visually impaired super-G. After the slalom portion of the super combined, they were sitting in fifth place, but the duo made up more than eight seconds on the super-G run to land on the podium with the silver medal in the super combined.
“I’ll admit I was a little nervous coming into this because we had a lot of time to make up," Bathum. "I will say that we came out with the afterburners on and we were after it today.”
First-time Paralympian Jallen (Harding, Pa.) won her second bronze medal of the games after taking third in the super-G earlier in the week. Jallen finished in a time of 57.98, to edge her teammate Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.) by nearly three and a half seconds. Earlier in the week Jones won bronze in the downhill and finished fourth in the slalom.
“It is the same feeling after my first medal - utter disbelief," Jallen said. "After slalom I knew I was sitting in a good spot, but the anticipation of keeping that spot was tough. I knew there were expectations, and I didn't want to lose; it was definitely a stressful three days, and I’m relieved it’s over. I couldn’t be any happier to bring home not one but two medals. I want to make my goals bigger and try to go for another medal in giant slalom.”
Danelle Umstead and guide Rob Umstead (Park City, Utah) won their first medal of the 2014 Games to add to the bronze medals they won in Vancouver in the super combined and downhill in the women’s visually impaired class.
“It is nice to get our first medal of the week," Umstead said. "I wish we had gone a little bit faster, but we did our best. We fought in the slalom where the conditions were a little intense, and we made it to the finish there. And to finish in third through the super combined was super nice.”
Jamie Stanton (Oakland Township, Mich.) finished 13th in the men’s standing class after sitting in 15th after the slalom run.
American Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Mass.) did not start today due to illness. Stephens was in fourth in the women's sitting class after the slalom run.
Team USA has won eight medals in alpine skiing through Day 7, four silver and six bronze medals.
Alpine skiing competition resumes Saturday with the men’s giant slalom and runs through Sunday, March 16. For complete results and more information, visit Sochi2014.com.