I don’t know if there were any expectations. I’m happy for them to move on. We’ll do better next time. —Megan McJames
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — With high hopes but modest expectations, the U.S. Alpine skiers attacked the newest Olympic Alpine event with enthusiasm, only to be eliminated in the first round by Great Britain.
“I think it’s a really fun event,” said Park City’s Megan McJames, who, along with Nolan Kasper, led off for Team USA. “It’s new and we’re still working out the kinks. But both racing someone head-to-head and being able to train and race with the boys is super fun. So I’m happy to be here.”
It was difficult to set expectations for the Alpine Team event, in which participating nations compete in heats consisting of two skiers from each country — a man and a woman. They race each other on a course marked with giant slalom gates every 10 meters, and the team with the fastest combined times advances.
McJames was faster than her opponent, as was David Chodounsky. But Nolan Kasper and Patricia Mangan were both slower, Mangan by .06 and Kasper by .18, giving Great Britain the edge 41.71 to 41.90.
“I don’t know if there were any expectations,” McJames said. “I’m happy for them to move on. We’ll do better next time.”
Added Kasper, “Obviously we hoped to advance, at least past the first round, but a couple of bobbles by me made it tough to do that.”
The skiers had to navigate the gates, as well as a small jump.
“It’s a notched-out piece of the hill,” Kasper said. “You don’t drop very far. It’s not a kick; it just drops you, so it’s not too bad.”
All the skiers seemed to enjoy the event, which has been part of the World Championships since 2005. Switzerland won gold, while Austria, winner of three World Championship is the event, earned silver. Norway finished with bronze.
“These are really fun events,” Nolan said. “It’s great for TV. It’s great for the crowd. I think it will be big in the future.”