US Ski & Snowboard had plenty of highlights during the 2018-2019 season.
US Ski & Snowboard CEO Tiger Shaw noted some of the great accomplishments of this season, headlined by Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin’s record 17 wins.
“The previous world record was 13 wins in one season, and she blew past that,” Shaw continued. “She was 83% of the time in the top 3 in all the events she entered this year and she won 66% of them. That's unheard of. There is no more dominant athlete on earth than Mikaela Shiffrin in terms of her ability to dominate those many different events on top of it. Chloe Kim is another great example too, she won 83% of her events this year. We just have an amazing team and an amazing season in many ways, but the female empowerment and the female dominance is extraordinary.”
Shaw says that to get to the level of Kim and Shiffrin, you do have to have natural talent, but their level of success is mostly fueled by grit and hard work. Shaw also noted staying at the top is incredibly difficult. Remaining competitive was a hallmark for the entirety of Lindsey Vonn’s illustrious career, which came to an end this season.
“She pulled off a bronze medal in the final event of her career which was absolutely stunning considering her knee injury,” Shaw explained. “No lateral/collateral ligament in place and so many amazing things that she’s recovered from. I was lucky enough to be there with her father Alan at that moment in the stands. It brought all of us to tears. It was absolutely extraordinary what she has accomplished. She got to 82 wins. She’s still the winningest female Alpine athlete in history.”
As Vonn’s career comes to a close, Shaw noted that there’s a bright future ahead for U.S. Ski & Snowboard. Shaw highlighted junior alpine skier River Radamus; who had 10 top 3 finishes during the season, including two wins at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships.
“Really dominated the world junior championships this year,” Shaw said. “As did many of our other athletes, Ben Ritchie, Katie Hensien, AJ Hurt, I could go on and on. They did incredibly well. We were 3rd as a country in the World Junior Alpine championships this year. Which is I think in a decade probably the best we've done, maybe since the days that Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso were in those world championships. So, we have a great up and coming crowd.”
Shaw says that they’re working to be known as the best in the world, but they know it’s a process.
To ever get there you can't stare at it. It's like a long putt on a green, if you stare at the hole and you say absolutely just dying to get the ball in that hole, you're not going to do it. But if you pay attention to what it takes to get there, so that includes focusing on your technique, focusing on your team, focusing on great team culture and practicing working hard. All of those things get you. You almost have to put the goal out of your mind to accomplish that, but it takes extraordinary world class teams to get anybody to that kind of level.”
As part of the US Ski & Snowboard Congress from May 14-18th an awards banquet will take place honoring the accomplishments of athletes over the 2018/2019 season.