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Countdown to the Winter Olympics



July 25, 2005

PARK CITY, Utah — The 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, open 200 days from Monday and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Vice President of Athletics Alan Ashley said "everything's on track" for U.S. skiers and riders to achieve their goal of "Best in the World next Feb. 10-26.

"We've had a solid summer of training to this point," Ashley said, "and while you never know what's around the next bend, I think that everyone is doing a good job of preparing for the season. I was in Torino a month ago and our venues are coming together nicely. Everyone — our athletes, our coaches, the USSA staff — is fired up to get over there and compete. There's a lot of enthusiasm and optimism."

He drew parallels between the unprecedented success Lance Armstrong achieved with the Tour de France, winning the fabled cycling race seven straight years and then retiring, as promised, on Sunday.

"Lance showed us again that preparation and team work are critical ingredients in success. Regardless of how talented you may be, you just don't show up and win. Lance and the Discovery Channel cycling team are doing it better than anyone else — putting together guts, teamwork, sport science and technology. You build on your strengths, you modify and make-up for shortcomings...and, all the while, you pay attention to the details," Ashley said.

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"Every single day, you take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. Lance Armstrong sets a good example for all of us when it comes to setting a goal and applying yourself day-in and day-out to this goal. I see a lot of parallels between his preparations and the dedication our skiers and snowboarders are applying to being "Best in the World in Torino."

A quick rundown of preseason training by sport:

ALPINE SKIING — "There was good snow at Mammoth Mountain, CA for our men's and women's camps in May and June," Ashley said, "and as they get set to go into the Southern Hemisphere to New Zealand and Chile in August and September, the snow reports are indicating they'll have good snow for training down there, too."

FREESTYLE SKIING — The aerials team, fine-tuning jumps in the splash pool at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, is in the midst of its third preseason training camp. The aerialists also had a second-annual conditioning camp with U.S. Navy SEALs near San Diego, CA, and an intense trampoline camp in Toronto. Moguls skiers also had a splash pool camp at UOP and leave shortly for several weeks of on-snow training in Chile.

SNOWBOARDING — Alpine riders focused on equipment testing, and more testing, at Mammoth Mountain in May, then attended a tactics and technique camp at Copper Mountain, CO, in June... Halfpipe riders enjoyed a warm but great camp in Mammoth in May with newcomer Danny Davis (Highland, MI). Next up for freestyle riders: New Zealand camp in August... Snowboardcross riders found softening snow, but more than enough for competitive training runs in June at Mammoth Mountain. "It was intense because riders were earning spots for the World Cups in Chile in September, said U.S. Snowboarding Program Director Jeremy Forster.

NORDIC — The cross country team trains daily in Park City, roller-skiing, running and doing strength training. It heads to New Zealand shortly for its annual on-snow camp during most of August... Nordic combined skiers are training in Norway after a successful conditioning camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, and near-daily jump training, dryland workouts and roller-skiing in Park City. They'll compete in central Europe in August during the annual Summer Grand Prix... Jumpers are training at UOP and will participate in jumping's annual Summer Grand Prix, too...

"I like what I've been watching this summer," Ashley said. "Two-hundred days will go by quickly as everyone gets ready for Torino."

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