February 4, 2007
ARE, SWEDEN - (USST News Bureau Release) - Olympic champion Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) and Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) say their recent World Cup success, including three victories apiece, doesn't increase pressure for similar success at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. And they feel one or more teammates could stage her own breakthrough at Worlds.
U.S. fans will be able to follow World Championships coverage live beginning Monday with the rescheduled men's super G. NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com will team up for live coverage of every race during the World Championships, which run until Feb. 18 in Are.
In a brief press conference Sunday night, following a day in which the women's opening race, a super G, was postponed two days because of continuing weather problems, the two U.S. stars shrugged off any concern about pressure.
"I think, for me, there's not as much pressure this year," said Kildow, who won a super G last Sunday (Jan. 28) on the 2006 Olympic speed run in San Sicario, Italy. In 2005, she was a pre-Worlds medal favorite and had two fourth-place results.
"I think I'm skiing well and I have a lot of confidence in myself, so I'm not really concerned about the pressure," Kildow said. "I think I learned a lot over the last couple of years, at the Olympics and the last World Championships. The more (expectations) you put on yourself, the more pressure you put on yourself, the harder it is to succeed...so I'm just gonna try to have fun."
Mancuso points to teammates
Mancuso, who was a surprise double-medalist at the 2005 Worlds with bronze in super G and giant slalom, said the women's team has plenty of talent, so she and Kildow aren't the only ones to watch. Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME), for instance, was super G silver medalist at the 2003 championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
"Big events, I always look at it as an opportunity to shine and it's never about pressure," Mancuso said. It's always about opportunity...
"I think it's just awesome what our team is doing. I think, all around, we're skiing really well, the women's team and the men's team. I think going in we have a lot of confidence. As soon as we get some races going here, we'll be proving a lot of good things.
"We'll just be proving ourselves to everyone," Mancuso said.
"I think our team is so strong anything is possible on any day," Mancuso said. "Resi (Stiegler - Jackson Hole, WY, and Mancuso's roommate in Are) is skiing really well, and 'Clarky' and Stacey (Cook - Mammoth Mountain, CA) have had really great results, so anything can happen. Libby (Ludlow - Bellevue, WA) also is doing well.
"We're all just as fast in training, so who knows what can happen on race day?"
Bad weather? No problem for Kildow
The bad weather doesn't trouble Kildow, she said. "My first World Cup podium (third in a downhill Jan. 18, 2004 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy) was when it was snowing and kind of bad weather conditions, so I'm kinda confident when it's bad weather. ...
"Sometimes when the weather gets bad, some girls back off a little bit. For me, I know when I give a little bit extra, I can really gain time and gain speed on the other athletes."
Mancuso said, "When the countdown from 10 goes off and you're standing in the start gate, it really doesn't matter what time it is or what the weather is like. You just always have to be ready in racing.
"It's an outdoor sport and it's always exciting and fun, no matter what."