Friday, February 12, 2010

2010 Winter Olympic Preview - Alpine Skiing



Alpine Skiing Preview

Alpine Skiing has been around Europe for some 150 years (or so I have been told) and it is pretty sweet if you are a skiing fan, or even if you are not. Alpine Skiing is comprised of ten different events.

The varying steepness’s of the slopes require that the Alpine Skiers have wider skis that makes them go down the hills a little more smoothly. This was first introduced as an Olympic sport in 1936 with a split between downhill and slalom. Super combined was not added until 1988 when the Olympics were in Calgary. Giant Slalom was added in ’52 and super-G in ’88.



Events

Men’s Downhill
Ladies’ Downhill
Men’s Super-G
Ladies’ Super-G
Men’s Giant Slalom
Ladies’ Giant Slalom
Men’s Slalom
Ladies’ Slalom
Men’s Super Combined
Ladies’ Super Combined


Overview
Downhill can have a vertical drop of 1,100 metres as the skiers will also have to maneuver around gates on their way down. This isn’t just like you going down the bunny hill at 7 Springs, this is legit. This is the fastest of all the events and the fastest time will get the Gold.

Slalom is the shortest of all the events and you get the quickest turns on this run. The skiers will get two runs on two totally difference courses and the winner is determined by combining the times together. So theoretically you could run the second fastest time in both events and still win the gold.

Giant Slalom is almost identical to the regular Slalom but it has more rounded turns. Just as in the Slalom there are two courses that the skiers have to go down and they make two runs down those two difference courses. The courses are on the same slope for the Giant Slalom and just as in the regular Slalom the best combined time wins.

Super-G stands for super giant slalom and is basically one run down a single course and the fastest time wins that race. The difference with this race is that there are tighter turns than the regular slalom and these turns are very sharp and precise.

Super Combined is a downhill run followed up by one slalom run on a shorter course. The times of the two runs are added up and the fastest total time wins the event.

In 2006 Austria just absolutely waxed the field in the final metal count for the Alpine Skiing. They took 14 total metals (4 Gold, 5 Silver, 5 Bronze), the next closest country was Sweden with four. The U.S. took home two metals, both Gold.


U.S. Hopefuls

If you have paid attention to anything over the past month you know that Lindsey Vonn is what is up when talking about American Skiing. She is the hands on favorite on the women’s side and she excels at the Alpine and Super G.

Bode Miller still skis for the United States so that will be another medal contender to try and overthrow Austria at the king of the hill.


Contenders

Alpine Skiing is the place where legends are made (or something like that) so with that being said we can pretty surely sit here and say that Vonn is going to win some medals for the United States.

As talked before Austria will be a huge player in this years games with names such as Michael Walchhofer, Benjamin Raich, Reinfried and Andrea Fischbacher will all be medal winners.

Switzerland will also be big players so look for them to bring some medals home.

Raich will be the big player on the men’s side. He is legit.


Predictions

Three Rivers Burgh Blog – I am taking Vonn for the women and I am going to take Raich for the men.

Vonn is for sure sexy so that counts for something in my book. I think after she takes home a few medals I am going to ask her out. How can you resist a low level Pittsburgh blogger after you win medals in the Winter Olympics? My prediction is she says yes and we get married.

The Steelers n’at -
The weather in Vancouver has been tricky the last few weeks. It hasn't been cold enough for snow, so they've been manufacturing fake snow all over the place. While this isn't a problem out at 7 Springs, it has been in Vancouver because the temperatures are above freezing so all the fake snow has been melting. This could lead to some messy downhill competition with a dark horse taking the Gold. That being said, I'm still going to take Lindsay Vonn in the Women's and some Austrian in the men's.

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