Thomas Walsh smiles to camera and holds up US flag after winning Giant Slalom silver.
YANQING, China – Two-time Paralympian Thomas Walsh (Vail, Colorado) won the silver medal in the men’s standing giant slalom on Thursday at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. This is the first medal for the U.S. Alpine team at Beijing 2022.
The first competitor down the hill for the day, Walsh laid down a time of 57.60 for his first run. The time would hold up across the field of 42 competitors with Walsh atop of the leaderboard just 00.38 ahead of Finland’s Santeri Kiveri after the day’s first half of competition. In his second run, Walsh finished in 57.84 for a combined time of 1.55.44 placing him just behind Kiveri whose 1.55.40 just edged Walsh out of the top spot.
“I think a lot of stars aligned for today to be possible,” said Walsh. “I know I’ve always been able to do it, but this is the first time that I woke up confident knowing I could do it. I am so happy for silver, .004 behind, that’s a race and makes me hungry for more. I know all I can do is give it all I have every single run and if I do that, I have a chance to be up there [on the podium].”
In the men’s standing class, Jesse Keefe (Bellevue, Idaho) had another top performance today in his Paralympic debut. Keefe was 15th after his first run clocking a time of 1.03.06. After a 1.01.48 for his second run his combined time of 2.04.54 would cement his top-15 finish. Teammate and fellow Paralympic newcomer Patrick Halgren (Tolland, Connecticut) was 26th with a combined time of 2.12.04. Andrew Haraghey (Enfield, Connecticut) was just behind with a combined 2.14.83 that would maintain his 28th spot on the day.
Three-time Paralympian and Opening Ceremony flag bearer Tyler Carter (Topton, Pennsylvania) found himself 34th with a combined time of 2.24.92 for the final run of his Paralympic career.
“I am just so grateful and honored to be here,” said Carter. “I wasn’t even sure I would make this team and to finish in this way is amazing. Thank you to my team and my family for all of their support.”
Four-time Paralympian Jasmin Bambur (Granby, Colorado) made his Beijing debut and was the top finisher for Team USA in the giant slalom men’s sitting division. Bambur’s first run left him in 20th with a 1.07.80. After his second run time of 1.04.23, Bambur advanced four spots to finish 16th. Ravi Drugan (Eugene, Oregon) finished in the 20th spot with a combined time of 2.14.80. Just behind him was one-time Paralympian Robert Enigl (Bozeman, Montana) whose combined time of 2.15.00 secured his 21st place on the day. Matthew Brewer’s (Huntington Beach, California) combined time of 2.19.44 placed him with a 25th place finish for the day. David Williams (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) slid out near the top of the course recording a DNF for the day.
Danelle Umstead (Park City, Utah) along with guide Rob Umstead will hit the slopes for their first race of Beijing 2022 on Friday in the visually impaired class as the women take on the giant slalom competition. Teammate Allie Johnson (Western Springs, Illinois) will also be back on the slopes for Team USA.
Don’t miss a minute of action from the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games as all events will be streamed live across NBC’s Peacock. Follow U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily updates from Beijing.