U.S. Paralympics Alp... News Stephens Wins Eighte...

Stephens Wins Eighteenth Career World Championship Medal in Espot

By Annemarie Blanco | Jan. 26, 2023, 11:38 a.m. (ET)

Laurie Stephens competes in Espot at the 2023 World Championships. 

 

ESPOT, SPAIN – Five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Massachusetts) continued her streak with a third silver medal win in the women’s sitting giant slalom competition. Stephens has now secured a second-place finish in each race to which she competed at the 2023 FIS Para Alpine World Championships. The podium appearance marks her 18th world championship medal in her career, a feat shared by few female athletes in the storied history of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing program. Stephens also won silvers in the alpine combined and super-G events earlier this week.

 

“I’m pretty happy with how today went,” said Stephens. “I’m definitely happier with my first run than my second one but I had fun. [The upcoming] slalom is not my favorite event, but we will see what happens. You never know.”

 

The U.S. now holds a total of five medals (three silver and two bronze) in this year’s world championships with fellow female sit skier Saylor O’Brien (Woodland, Utah) securing two third-place finishes in her debut. O’Brien was in the lineup for the day’s events however a crash in the first run took her out of contention. The third U.S. female on the roster, Paralympian Allie Johnson (Western Springs, Illinois) captured a career-best top five finish in the women’s standing class.

 

“I’m just so happy to be here and with how I skied,” said Johnson. “I feel like after getting through all this – the weather delays, my first downhill – that I can do anything. I’m excited that I have a little bit of a break to train then headed over to Cortina which will be great.”

 

For the men’s sitting class, Paralympians Ravi Drugan (Eugene, Oregon) and Matthew Brewer (Huntington Beach, California) grabbed the 12th and 14th place finishes respectively. For Drugan, the race was a challenging but rewarding one as he’s using it as experience to perfect his technique.

 

“Over the last year, I’ve been starting to learn to like the giant slalom. I’m still critiquing my technique and trying to really get over the ski, create some good pressure and get energy out of the ski,” said Drugan. “The conditions today were definitely spot-on, real world cup surface and getting slick up there, so it was better for me to actually get some progression and work on what I’ve been training on.”

 

In the men’s standing class, four U.S. athletes took to the slope for the two-run event with Thomas Walsh (Vail, Colorado) securing the top spot for Team USA finishing in 11th place followed by Jesse Keefe (Bellevue, Idaho) in 19th. Paralympians Patrick Halgren (Tolland, Connecticut) and Andrew Haraghey (Enfield, Connecticut) rounded out the top 25 with a 22nd and 23rd place finish respectively.

 

The team will receive a rest day on Friday, Jan. 27 with the final event of the competition, the slalom resuming with men’s events on Saturday. The stream will be available to online here through the FIS site with live results available here. Follow U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for daily updates from Espot.

 

Thursday, Jan. 26 - Giant Slalom Results

 

SILVER

Laurie Stephens – women’s sitting

 

Other finishes:

Allie Johnson – 5th, women’s standing

Thomas Walsh – 11th, men’s standing

Ravi Drugan – 12th, men’s sitting

Matthew Brewer – 14th, men’s sitting

Jesse Keefe – 19th, men’s standing

Patrick Halgren – 22nd, men’s standing

Andrew Haraghey – 23rd, men’s standing

 

For media requests and photo inquiries, please contact Annemarie Blanco at Annemarie.blanco@usopc.org