Winter sports season a success for American women |

Winter sports season a success for American women

The Park Record editorial, March 8-10, 2017

Another winter nears its end as the temperatures begin to rise and the snow slowly starts to melt. There’s been a plethora of strong results on the slopes, jumps and tracks for Team USA, but the 2016-2017 winter season was a special one for the women’s team in all disciplines.

Mikaela Shiffrin became the first woman in 78 years to win three straight slalom titles with her victory at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland. She’s also threatening to win both overall and slalom World Cup titles.

Another injury couldn’t keep Lindsey Vonn off of the podium for long, as she captured a downhill bronze at the World Championships. She also racked up her 77th career World Cup victory at a competition Garmisch.

Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen worked together to capture a bronze medal at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in the classic team sprint. Diggins also secured a silver in the individual freestyle sprint.

Kikkan Randall, who became a mother last spring, came back strong for the winter season and placed third in the individual freestyle sprint at the Nordic World Ski Championships behind Diggins.

Mogul skiers Morgan Schild, who was coming off 22 months of rehabbing a torn ACL, and Jaelin Kauf, who is in the first World Cup season of her young career, each captured FIS World Cup victories throughout the season.

Chloe Kim, just 17 years old, took home the Burton U.S. Open halfpipe title for the second year in a row.

The success for the U.S. women’s teams shouldn’t end with this season. With athletes such as Katherine Ogden, who won a silver medal in the skiathlon at the USANA FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships at Soldier Hollow, working their way through the ranks, the future appears bright.

Ogden followed that up by anchoring the American women’s relay team of herself, Hailey Swirbul, Julia Kern and Hannah Halvorsen to a bronze-medal finish in the 4×3.3-kilometer relay. Both medals — Ogden’s individual and the relay — were firsts for Team USA at a Junior Worlds ever.

These are just a few of the glowing accomplishments that came from the women’s side of Team USA throughout the winter season, and with competitions still left on the docket for some, they might not be the last.

These impressive results shouldn’t come as a surprise to those in the Park City community. The recent success of the U.S. teams is partly due to excellent feeder programs, some of which are located right in town. From the Park City Ski Team to Wasatch Luge and everything in between, local aspiring athletes have every opportunity to participate in the winter sport of their choice.

These programs help provide the necessary venues, equipment and competitions for a young athlete in Park City to succeed. They are also a big reason why Olympic athletes from Park City, such as Ted Ligety, Joss Christensen, Steve Holcomb and Sage Kotsenburg, have achieved much in their respective careers.

While the men have certainly left their mark in recent history, this winter season was all about the American women. It’s been a fantastic year for them, and with youth on their side, future seasons could be even better.

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