February 8 - Three-time Paralympic gold medallist Alana Nichols and two-time champion Chris Devlin-Young will lead a 13-strong United States team at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, it was confirmed today.
As well as Nichols (pictured top), who will be aiming to defend her two victories from the 2011 World Championships in Sestriere, and Devlin-Young, the reigning world champion in men's sitting super-G, Laurie Stephens will be looking to repeat her outstanding performance from two years' ago when she collected three medals – silver in women's sitting super G and downhill and a bronze in women's sitting super combined.
Kevin Jardine, the high performance director for US Paralympics alpine skiing, a division of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), explained how the World Championships, which are due to run from February 18 to 28 in the Spanish ski resort, is one of the most important tournaments taking place in the run up to the Sochi 2014 Paralympics.
"With a little over a year until the start of the next Paralympic Winter Games, I am very excited about the direction of the US Paralympics alpine skiing programme.
"We are sending very talented teams to La Molina, Spain, for the World Championships and Sochi, Russia, for the World Cup Final.
"While some athletes are pursing consecutive titles, others are ready to make the first podium appearances of their international skiing careers.
"The next couple of months will have a huge part in the road to the Games."
Following the World Championships, ten athletes and two guides will make up the US squad heading to Sochi for the IPC World Cup Finals – the alpine skiing test event for next year's Winter Paralympics – on March 7-12.
At the 2012 World Cup Finals in Panorama, the nation finished with eight globes and 12 medals, including a gold from Tyler Walker; three golds and a silver, as well as a globe trophy for Nichols in the women's sitting speed events; and a globe in giant slalom and two silver medals in the super G events for Stephens.
The previous year saw the team win the overall World Cup title with 4,657 points – despite being ranked in sixth place – ahead of Russia in second with 4,151 and France with 4,087.
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September 2012: United States selects Paralympic alpine skiing team