Alice McKennis has only one speed – fast. That has led to her fair share of crashes, but you can't fault her for going big. (Photo: Mitchell Gunn/ESPA)
Alice McKennis (Glenwood Springs, CO) knows what it takes to come back from a serious injury; she's done it before.
The athletes still have their ski legs under them, not their beach legs, according to Women's Speed Coach Chip White, which makes the May training block at Mammoth unique compared to other off-season camps.
Chip White, Head Coach of the Best in the World women's alpine speed team, has been selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee as finalist for National Coach of Year – the organizations most prestigious coaching honor.
Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) became the sixth U.S. Ski Team women's speed athlete to finish in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup top three this season with a stunning second in the Garmisch downhill.
Less than a second separated the top 17 finishers in Saturday's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup women's downhill with Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) leading the way for the U.S. Ski Team with 13th, .90 behind surprise winner Carolina Ruiz Castillo of Spain.
Julia Mancuso led the USA in fifth as medals eluded the U.S. in the women's downhill at FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming.
Stacey Cook will lead a strong U.S. Ski Team into the women's downhill Sunday at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming
Lindsey Vonn climbed back on top in Cortina, winning Saturday's downhill with teammate Leanne Smith third.
Alice McKennis skied to a career first win in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill in St. Anton.
Leanne Smith scored a career first podium in second leading four Americans into the top ten.
Lindsey Vonn won a record seventh straight in Lake Louise to lead a U.S. SkI Team weekend sweep in the Audi FIS World Cup.
Lindsey Vonn came from behind to win her 55th career Audi FIS World Cup, matching Swiss Vreni Scheider for second in the all time wins list.
The speed training season is officially underway in South American as the women's U.S. Ski Team, including Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) and Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA), begin their second week in Portillo.
Challenging snow conditions have shifted the annual women's alpine summer training camp to Mt. Hutt near Christchurch.
Alice McKennis Quick Facts
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Formerly coached by four-time Olympian Casey Puckett, the resume of Alice McKennis reflects a thing or two about speed events. Evidence: McKennis stole a 2013 World Cup downhill victory, took multiple World Cup top 10 spots in super G, finished 20th in the World Cup DH standings and made the 2010 Olympic Team in her rookie World Cup season.
Kick it up to the 2014 season and McKennis will be looking toward Sochi from both the peaks and valleys. Peak: she won the first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup of her career with a stunning January 2013 performance in St. Anton, claiming the season’s only Austrian speed race. Valley: a few weeks before the end of the season, she crashed in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and shattered her right tibial plateau into about 30 pieces. Ouch. Despite the season-ending dinger, she still finished a career best 10th in the World Cup downhill standings.
It's a recovery road she's walked before. Just two years prior, she had a similar injury on her left leg. Experience in injury recovery counts. If McKennis can go from the knife to the top of the World Cup podium once, she can do it again.
The screaming and crying is over. Surgery was a success and each day the pain is a little less. Now it is the looming months ahead of physical therapy, gym time, return to snow and finally racing again that lie before me. It is no small task and is daunting I’ll admit. The thought of returning from an even-more severe injury than my last one scares me at times. Can I do it again? Can I force myself to maintain a positive outlook and never have any doubt in my mind that I will be fast again? That I will want to go fast again? That I will be ready in time for Sochi? All of these questions run through my mind daily…but there is only one answer and one choice. YES.
To educate everyone a little more on the injury, it is thus: my right lateral tibial plateau was fractured into 30 plus pieces while being pushed laterally 1.5mm. I also had a fracture diagonally/straight down the tibia, which required the plate. Lucky for me, all my ligaments were intact. Some miracle I guess! I keep obliterating my tibial plateaus, but both times my ligaments have been uninjured. Crazy…there are more medical terms and smaller issues as well, but since I’m not a doctor, I’m not going to get into those details since I don’t really know what I’m talking about.
OFF THE SNOW
WORLD CUP (highlights)