Walker leads trio of Americans to silver in Tignes world cup

By Katie Branham | Jan. 28, 2014, 1:26 p.m. (ET)
 Tyler Walker
 Tyler Walker finished as the runner-up in the men's sitting downhill in Tignes, France.

TIGNES, France – Tyler Walker earned his fourth world cup podium of the season as he placed second in the downhill at the International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing World Cup in Tignes, France, today.

After competition was delayed due to heavy snowfall on Monday, the athletes retuned to the slopes today for both downhill training and competition.

Walker (Franconia, N.H.) finished less than one-tenth of a second behind Reinhold Sampl of Austria to take second place in the men’s sitting class.

“It’s great to see Tyler back on the podium as we are getting closer to Sochi,” said Kevin Jardine, high performance director for U.S. Paralympics alpine skiing. “After two fourth place finishes at the Copper Mountain world cup, he was sharp and ready to race today.”

Two-time Paralympic bronze medalist Danelle Umstead and her guide Rob Umstead (Park City, Utah) finished second. With half of the women’s visually impaired class unable to finish the course, Umstead skied to the runner-up spot as she crossed the line less than three seconds behind Jade Etherington and guide Caroline Powell of Great Britain.

Reigning downhill world champion Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Mass.) had a similar result in the women’s sitting class as she also claimed silver. Stephens finished four-and-a-half seconds behind Anna Schaffelhuber of Germany.

Competition in Tignes will run through Friday with giant slalom, super combined and an additional day of downhill competition.

At each world cup event, athletes will earn points that help determine world rankings and qualification for Paralympic events. Scoring is based on finishing place, with athletes aiming for as few points as possible. To qualify for world cups and ultimately the Paralympic Winter Games in each discipline, athletes must remain under a certain point threshold.

The U.S. team that will compete in alpine skiing at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will be named in early February.

Complete results and more information are available at Paralympic.org.