Heath Calhoun leads Team USA with sixth place finish in giant slalom

By Katie Branham | March 15, 2014, 8:30 a.m. (ET)

Heath Calhoun
Heath Calhoun, a U.S. Army veteran, finished sixth in the giant slalom on Day 8.

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia - Heath Calhoun led Team USA with a sixth place finish in the men’s giant slalom in the penultimate day of competition at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

“Overall its been a great trip," he said. "I skied well here, it was my plan to be about as good as I've ever been here, and I feel like I at least came really close or accomplished my goals, so I'm happy. I keep talking about it, but it's really tough competition in our field. The guys throw down, and I’m happy to be competing with them, happy to be here."  

Today’s competition featured all four veteran members of the U.S. alpine team: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Heath Calhoun (Bristol, Tenn.); Petty Officer Third Class, U.S. Coast Guard, Chris Devlin-Young (Bethlehem, N.H.); Specialist, U.S. Army, Joel Hunt (Kokomo, Ind.) and Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, Jon Lujan (Littleton, Colo.).

Calhoun was the top American finisher of the day in sixth place in the men’s sitting class. Calhoun had an outstanding second run that was only two-hundredths of a second off of the leader, but after finishing the first run in seventh place, Calhoun’s combined time put him two seconds off the podium. Later today Calhoun has his medal ceremony for his silver-medal performance in the men’s super combined.

Jasmin Bambur (Granby, Colo.) crashed on his second run, but was able to stay on course and record a top-20 finish in 17th place. Unfortunately, Devlin-Young crashed on the second run and Scott Meyer (Frisco, Colo.) fell on the first run and neither were able to complete the course.

Ralph Green (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was 16th in the men’s standing class to record his best finish of the games. In their Paralympic debuts, Hunt and Tyler Carter (Topton, Pa.) finished 24th and 27th, respectively.

"I felt great. This giant slalom is probably the most technical event," Green said. "It was a very very challenging course; I think a lot of my fitness and training at the training center in Colorado Springs helped me get through it. Overall, the Games are phenomenal, Russia and the IPC did an amazing job. The people are so awesome and the venue is sweet!"

Jamie Stanton (Oakland Township, Mich.) finished the first run in 13th place; however, he did not start the second run to record a complete score. Lujan crashed on the first run and was transported off of the hill by sled.

Mark Bathum (Seattle, Wash.) and guide Cade Yamamoto (Quincy, Wash.) did not finish the first run after Bathum crashed at the top of the lake jump in the men’s visually impaired giant slalom. Bathum won two medals during the Games, with silver in the super combined and super-G.

Team USA has won ten medals in alpine skiing through Day 8, four silver and six bronze medals.

Alpine skiing competition concludes Sunday with the women’s giant slalom. For complete results and more information, visit Sochi2014.com.