Connor Hogan competes in PyeongChang. (Photo: Mark Reis)
COLORADO SPRINGS – With the Paralympic Games Beijing 2022 on the horizon, nine athletes were today named to the 2021-2022 U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing national team. Paralympic champions Andrew Kurka (Palmer, Alaska) and Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Massachusetts) lead the way for a team that will look to build upon the six Paralympic medals it won in PyeongChang in 2018.
The 2021-2022 season will feature a unique schedule in that the team will compete at both world championships and the Paralympic Games in the same year. The 2021 Para Snow Sports World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, were postponed to January 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are slotted to take place just a little over a month before the Games in Beijing.
“This team has all the potential in the world to continue to establish Team USA as one of the world’s preeminent Para alpine skiing teams,” Jessica Smith, associate director of U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing Sport Operations, said. “Seven of the nine athletes bring prior Paralympic experience to the team, which should prove valuable for us heading into a busy winter season.”
In addition to Kurka and Stephens, who have two and seven Paralympic medals, respectively, Jasmin (Granby, Colorado), Andrew (Enfield, Connecticut), Connor Hogan (Foxborough, Massachusetts), Thomas Walsh (Vail, Colorado) and Spencer Wood (Pittsfield, Vermont) are the other returning Paralympians on the roster. Walsh most recently won two medals at the 2019 Para Alpine World Championships, taking bronze in both giant slalom and super combined. The most experienced member of the roster, is seeking his fourth Paralympic team nomination.
Up-and-coming skiers Ravi Drugan (Eugene, Oregon) and Jesse Keefe (Sun Valley, Idaho) round out the 2021-2022 national team.
The 2021-2022 season kicks off for Team USA in Panorama, Canada, from November 24-26 for the first World Para Alpine Skiing North American races of the season. The team is also set to compete in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the second stopof the world cup tour from December 17-21 before breaking for the holidays. World championships take place from January 13-23, 2022, then the team will head to , Sweden, for the final world cup competition before the Beijing Paralympics kick off on March 4.
For media requests and inquiries, please contact Kristen Gowdy at Kristen.Gowdy@usopc.org.