Kasper 13th in Wild Sochi Slalom
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Feb. 22) – The dramatic conclusion of alpine skiing at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games Saturday featured an impressive 13th by Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT) to top the results for Team USA during an incredibly difficult slalom finale. Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) skied into sixth place in his first run and put forth a heroic effort to tame the wild course, but he missed a gate and went out halfway through his second run. Five of the top eight skiers did not finish their second run on the deteriorating snow, while Austria’s Mario Matt was able to piece together a gold medal run. The wild alpine finale will air on NBC’s Primetime Olympic coverage Saturday at 8:00 p.m. EST and can be replayed in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com.
- The dramatic conclusion of alpine skiing at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games Saturday featured an impressive 13th by Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT) to top the results for Team USA during an incredibly difficult nighttime slalom finale.
- Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) skied into sixth place in his first run and put forth a heroic effort to tame the wild course, but he missed a gate and went out halfway through his second run.
- Five of the top eight skiers did not finish their second run on the tight course set by Croatian legend Ante Kostelic. The warm temperatures softened the snow throughout the night, which became rutted, bumpy and unsupportable during the second run. The close gates and challenging snow were too difficult for many of the world’s top athletes.
- Austria’s Mario Matt was able to piece together a gold medal run with his countryman Marcel Hirscher taking silver. Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen came back from 15th to win bronze.
- The wild alpine finale will air on NBC’s Primetime Olympic coverage Saturday at 8:00 p.m. EST and can be replayed in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com.
- The men return to the World Cup circuit in Innsbruck Feb. 25 for a nations cup team event and then to Kvitfjell, Norway for two downhill races and a super G Feb. 28 – March 3.
I knew the course was falling apart and everybody was watching guy after guy fall or blow out. You’ve just got to keep fighting. You don’t really think when you’re going down the course, and I just wanted to try to have a good rest of my run. Obviously, my splits were pretty good and so I think besides the falls it was a positive experience.
Almost half the guys in the top 30 did the same thing as I did. But that’s how it goes and everyone had to ski it. Not all the best guys had the chance to make it down, unfortunately, but it is what it is. I wasn’t one of the medal favorites here so it’s not too frustrating for me. I would have liked to have done better, and I put myself in a position to have a chance. This course set was difficult and it was a battle of attrition.
Winning a gold medal makes any Olympics great for anybody. I’m really happy I was able to win the giant slalom, especially being such a big favorite in that event. That was really huge. Otherwise, I had some up and down events, but it was overall a good experience
Sasha Rearick, Men’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team Head Coach
Nolan has not been skiing well. He’s missed 250 days of skiing in the past two and a half years. That’s a lot of training days. And for him to come out here and do what he did today–hats off to him.
It’s been a great three weeks of competition here. The Russians have done an amazing job pulling this whole thing together. My expectations have been met. We worked really hard to get here and we put the effort in the right areas. I’m stoked with how the team (coaches, athletes, services guys, physios, everybody) all worked together in an extremely professional and effective way.
Patrick Riml, U.S. Ski Team Alpine Director
It was a little bit of a rough start, but it’s been great. What our athletes were able to deliver in the last couple races was impressive. I’m very proud of the athletes and very proud of the staff. Everybody stayed calm and did their job and got the athletes ready for race day. It’s awesome. I’m very, very pleased.
Our support center here in Sochi, our medical department, sports-science department, our infrastructure and the Center of Excellence is a huge part of this. Having all the athletes under one roof the whole springtime, summer and fall training and working out together–the young kids see Bode there, see Ted there and see Mikaela there working out. Just that whole environment is so critical for us. I think it’s a huge part of the success we have. I’m very proud of the whole staff and the whole organization; I would put this whole thing together. The athletes feel very comfortable in this environment.