Laurie Stephens Has Pair Of Second-Place Finishes In Para Alpine World Cup
by Todd Kortemeier
Laurie Stephens competes during the women's sitting downhill at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 5, 2022 in Beijing.
The U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing Team, which is beginning a new Paralympic quad, had many strong finishes at the first world cup of the season in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The event was highlighted by two podium performances by two-time Paralympic gold medalist Laurie Stephens.
Stephens finished second in women’s sitting slalom races Saturday and Sunday. U.S. skiers came close to more podium finishes, however, as Paralympic silver medalist Thomas Walsh placed fourth twice in men’s standing slalom. Paralympian Allie Johnson also had a pair of fourth-place finishes in women’s standing giant slalom and women’s standing slalom. Johnson and Walsh had three fifth-place finishes between them, as well.
The rest of the U.S. team included Paralympians Matthew Brewer, Ravi Drugan, Patrick Halgren, Andrew Haraghey and Jesse Keefe. The team was on somewhat familiar ground as the national team held an October preseason training camp in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Most of the world cup season will take place in Europe, with two stops slated for North America.
The U.S. Para alpine program is looking to get back on track this Paralympic cycle as Walsh was the lone medalist at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. In an interview with USParaAlpineSkiing.org, Tony McAllister, associate director of Para alpine high performance, said the early part of this quad won’t be as focused on results but on establishing a baseline of success to build on.
“We’re in a bit of a rebuilding phase right now in year one of the new quad,” McAllister said. “We’re looking at the fundamentals, or seeing if we can find any individual opportunities there for each athlete to redefine those, or retrain them to give them opportunity further down the line.”