Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin headline the U.S. team for the World Alpine Skiing Championships starting next week.
Julia Mancuso, a medalist at the last three Olympics who hasn’t raced since March 2015, is also on the 23-skier team headed to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for the Feb. 7-19 championships.
Vonn, who returned this month from knee and arm fractures, will eye her first world title since she swept the downhill and super-G in 2009. Vonn won her second race back Jan. 21 but hasn’t finished better than ninth in her other four starts. She’s expected to race downhill, super-G and super combined at worlds.
Shiffrin is the world’s best female skier, leading the World Cup overall standings, and will seek to become the second woman to win three straight world slalom titles. She’s also a threat in giant slalom, ranking second this season in that discipline. She doesn’t plan to race the other worlds events.
Mancuso was named to the worlds for an eighth straight time despite missing all of last season due to hip surgery. Mancuso took World Cup training runs this month but wasn’t quite ready to race. At worlds, race starters will be finalized the evening prior to each event.
The U.S. team lacks its two biggest male stars — Bode Miller and Ted Ligety.
Miller, the most decorated U.S. Olympic skier with six medals, has not raced since Feb. 5, 2015, when he severed a right hamstring tendon in a world championships super-G crash.
Miller is healthy now but hasn’t raced this season due at least in part to a sponsor dispute. He is expected to return to racing next season, eyeing his sixth Olympics at age 40. Miller will be on the NBC broadcast team during worlds.
Ligety, the three-time reigning world giant slalom champion, is out for the season after undergoing back surgery two weeks ago.
With Miller and Ligety’s absences, the U.S. will have zero past men’s Olympic or world gold medalists at a world championships for the first time since 2001.
That leaves a relatively inexperienced cast supporting Vonn and Shiffrin, looking to build on a five-medal U.S. output at the 2015 World Championships at home in Colorado.
The most accomplished U.S. men on the team are speed racers Travis Ganong and Andrew Weibrecht. Ganong, the 2015 World downhill silver medalist, won a World Cup downhill on Friday for his first victory since his maiden win in December 2014.
Weibrecht owns as many Olympic medals as Vonn (two) but has never won a World Cup race nor been better than ninth at worlds.
All of the above mentioned skiers (other than Shiffrin) are 28 years or older. The U.S. is lacking a pool of young talent. Jackie Wiles, 24, recorded her first World Cup podium on Jan. 15, finishing third in a downhill.Follow @nzaccardi
U.S. roster for World Championships
Stacey Cook — Three-time Olympian
Julia Mancuso — Four Olympic medals
Megan McJames — Two-time Olympian
Laurenne Ross — Sochi Olympian
Mikaela Shiffrin — Olympic slalom champion
Resi Stiegler — Two-time Olympian
Lindsey Vonn — 2010 Olympic downhill champion
Jackie Wiles — Sochi Olympian
David Chodounsky — Sochi Olympian
Tommy Ford — Vancouver Olympian
Travis Ganong — 2015 World downhill silver medalist
Jared Goldberg — Sochi Olympian
Tim Jitloff — Sochi Olympian
Andrew Weibrecht — Two Olympic medals
Tues. Feb 7
6:00 a.m. – Women’s super G, NBCSN – LIVE
Wed. Feb 8
6:00 a.m. – Men’s super G, NBCSN – LIVE
Fri. Feb 10
7:00 a.m. – Women’s alpine combined, NBCSN – LIVE
Sat. Feb 11
6:00 a.m. – Men’s downhill, nbcsports.com – LIVE
2:30 p.m. – Men’s downhill, NBC
Sun. Feb 12
6:00 a.m. – Women’s downhill, nbcsports.com – LIVE
12:30 p.m. – Women’s downhill, NBC
Mon. Feb 13
7:00 a.m. – Men’s alpine combined, NBCSN – LIVE
Tues. Feb 14
6:00 a.m. – Nations team event, NBCSN – LIVE
Thurs. Feb 16
3:45 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, NBCSN – LIVE
Fri. Feb 17
3:45 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, NBCSN
Sat. Feb 18
3:45 a.m. – Women’s slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Women’s slalom, second run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
12:30 p.m. – Women’s slalom, NBC
Sunday, Feb. 19
3:45 a.m. – Men’s slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Men’s slalom, NBCSN