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Men's Alpine Team Gets SI Cover

(USST Release)—U.S. Ski Team alpine racers again will be on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine this week, the fifth time U.S. skiers have helped introduce the sports weekly's pre-Olympics issue.

Defending World Cup champion Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH), U.S. men's most successful downhiller Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), rising slalom star Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) and former World Championships medalist Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) are pictured on the magazine's cover, the first Olympic cover since 1992.

The dramatic photo, an outgrowth from the VISA Birds of Prey races at Beaver Creek, Colo., in early December, was taken by Simon Bruty following a recent World Cup race in Adelboden, Switzerland. In Beaver Creek, Rahlves won the downhill, Miller won the giant slalom (with Rahlves second and Schlopy fourth despite a broken hand), and Ligety reached his first World Cup podium, finishing third in slalom.

"This photo, said Tom Kelly, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association vice president of marketing communications, "came right out of the men's races in Beaver Creek. SI was so impressed by the across-the-board showing and said it wanted to do something with our men for the Olympic cover. We were able to do it in Adelboden when Simon, who does such great work, got them together after the slalom - where Ted had just gotten his third podium - and they went up on the mountain and took the shot right away before the sun went down.

"It's a great representation of outstanding athletes and we're extremely pleased with everything about it, Kelly said.

Kelly said Olympic champion Picabo Street, who had won the super G by one-hundredth of a second, was all set to be a cover with SI from Nagano, Japan, in 1998 - until Austrian Hermann Maier went through his spectacular cartwheeling spill during the men's downhill. Good-bye, Picabo, hello, Hermann for the Feb. 23.1998 cover entitled "Thrills & Spills in Nagano. "SI's Carl Yarborough was the only photographer in the perfect spot to catch that incredible of Hermann in midair, and it bumped Picabo, Kelly said.[NEXT]Previous Olympics issue covers for Sports Illustrated involving U.S. Ski Team athletes are:

  • Jan. 27, 1992 - A.J. Kitt, surging out of a World Cup downhill start house
  • Feb. 6, 1984 - Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney flanked figure skaters Scott Hamilton and Rosalynn Summers
  • Feb. 5, 1968 - Billy Kidd and Jimmie Heuga before the Games of Grenoble
  • Jan. 27, 1964 - "The Winter Olympics with alpine racer Buddy Werner

    Among other covers for the famed magazine with Olympic skiers are:

  • Feb. 21, 1994 - "Golden Boy, featuring Tommy Moe coming right at the camera as he barreled down the Kvitfjell course en route to his electrifying downhill gold medal in Lillehammer
  • Feb. 27, 1984 - "Flat Out for Glory, featuring Bill Johnson in midair as he raced to his downhill gold medal in Sarajevo
  • Feb. 20, 1984 - "Queen of the Mountain, Debbie Armstrong after she won her giant slalom gold medal in Sarajevo
  • March 8, 1965 - 1964 slalom silver medalist Billy Kidd training slalom
  • March 11, 1963 - "Chuck Ferries, Best U.S. Skier
  • Feb. 1, 1960 - "U.S. Girl Skiers on Top of the World, featuring Betsy Snite, who would earn the Olympic silver medal in slalom at Squaw Valley two weeks later
  • Feb. 6, 1956 - Alpine racer Ralph Miller, bib No. 93, at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
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