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U.S. Skiers Gear up for World Alpine Championships

PARK CITY, UT Jan. 27, 2003 (USSA)--World Cup points leader and double Olympic medalist Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) and defending super G champion Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), and Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME), who has had three top-3s this winter, are among 17 athletes named Monday to the upcoming alpine World Championships in Switzerland.

In announcing the team of nine men and eight women, U.S. Alpine Director Jesse Hunt said the team includes 15 2002 Olympians, including all nine men. The championships begin Sunday in St. Moritz with the men's super G and run through Feb. 16.

Miller, who won two Olympic silver medals a year ago, is the first U.S. man to lead the World Cup standings in 20 years. The Carrabassett Valley Academy (ME) product has won two races this season, giving him six victories in two years. Rahlves, a Green Mountain Valley School (VT) grad, won the fabled Hahnenkamm downhill Saturday in Kitzbuehel, Austria, and another downhill (Dec. 29 in Bormio, Italy) in addition to three other top-3s. In 2001, he stunned the Austrian crowd by collecting the super G gold medal at the World Championships in St. Anton. Clark, another CVA product, has been on three DH podiums.

The U.S. Ski Team, which was named based on results in international races: Men - Miller (1998, 2002 Olympian), Rahlves (1998, 2002 Olympian), Jake Fiala (Frisco, CO; '02 Olympian), Chip Knight (Stowe, VT; '98, '02 Olympian), Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, WA; '02 Olympian), Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT; '94, '02 Olympian), Dane Spencer (Boise, ID; '02 Olympian), Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA; '02 Olympian), Thomas Vonn (Newburgh, NY; '02 Olympian)

Women - Clark ('98, '02 Olympian), Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN; 98, '02 Olympian), Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO; '98, '02 Olympian), Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA), Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA; '02 Olympian) Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA; '98, '02 Olympian), Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO; '98, '02 Olympian), and Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY).

"I'm really pleased all of these athletes made the Worlds Team on their World Cup results. They've stepped up and this shows the across-the-board depth on both the men's and women's teams," Hunt said. "When you've got athletes skiing more than one event, as ours are this season, it gives you a lot of options.

"We've got a great chance to come out of Worlds with the best results in many years. We're going to St. Moritz to win medals—men's and women's. This is a total team," he said, "and we're looking for them to produce well on both sides.

"Bode's in contention for the overall points lead, Daron's won twice, Clarky's been on the podium three times. This clearly isn't just a one-man or one-woman team and we have high expectations for success in St. Moritz."

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