Thursday, December 10, 2009

Alpine Skiing Key Athletes

Want to know more about the 2010 Olympic sports and the athletes to watch out for? Well so do we! Since there are 15 sports, this will be the first of 15 blogs talking about one sport in particular and the key athletes to take note of in the games. This week we talk about alpine skiing. The top five countries with the most gold medals in alpine skiing are: Austria, Switzerland, France, United States, and Italy. Here’s a list of each country’s main contenders for the gold this year:

Benjamin Raich
Marlies Schild
Rainer Schoenfelder
Kathrin Zettel

Daniel Albrecht
Didier Cuche
Lara Gut
Carlo Janka


Jean-Baptiste Grange
Julien Lizeroux
Marie Marchand


Julia Mancuso
Ted Ligety
Lindsey Vonn
Stacey Cook
Hailey Duke
Bode Miller
Marco Sullivan
Steven Nyman
Scott Macartney
Andrew Weibrecht


Nadia Franchini

Some athletes in particular catch the eye of the NBC Olympics website in their “What To Expect”article on alpine skiing: Lindsey Vonn, Aksel Lund Scindal and Anja Paerson.

Lindsey Vonn: Four years after she suffered a frightening crash during a training run at the 2006 Torino Games, Lindsey Vonn is poised to become one of the top stories in 2010...In the years since [the accident], Vonn has become the most successful female skier in US history, winning both the World Cup overall and downhill titles for the second consecutive year following the 2008-09 season. The versatile two-time champion could contend for a medal in each of the five Olympic events she enters, though downhill and super-G are her strongest. Vonn will face a competitive international field that includes Sweden’s Anja Paerson, Austria’s Kathrin Zettel, and Germany’s Maria Riesch, one of Vonn’s best friends.

Aksel Lund Scindal: If Lindsey Vonn is to be considered the newest queen of the sport, then Norwegian should be appointed its Viking king. The two-time overall World Cup winner will be 27 years old in Vancouver, arguably the prime of a skier's career, and could leave with multiple medals. In recent years, men's skiing has lacked a global icon in the mode of Austria's Hermann Maier or Italy's Alberto Tomba. Svindal has the skill (five world medals), physical presence (6-foot-5, 210 pounds), panache (regular English Tweeter) and requisite crash account (facial fractures, missing teeth), to carry Alpine's mainstream mantle into the future. Svindal could find his first Olympic medal on the very first day of competition in the men's downhill, an event he attended as an 11-year-old at the 1994 Lillehammer Games.

Anja Paerson: As it stands now, Sweden's Anja Paerson has five career Olympic medals, more than any other active Alpine skier. Of the women, only Croatia's Janica Kostelic has more (six) in Olympic history. In her two Olympic appearances, the reigning slalom champion captured medals in four of the five disciplines (save super-G), a testament to her dynamic ability. Paerson, who's also a seven-time world champion, will be 28 in Vancouver and has stated that she plans to retire following the Games. If she manages to win two medals, a not unlikely scenario, the Swede will leave skiing as the sport's most decorated female ever.

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