2019 Winter Deaflympics News
2019 Winter Deaflympics Alpine Ski, Nordic Ski and Snowboard Team
Top Left to Right: Tal Williams, Anders Wollan, Lauren Benedict, Lauren Weibert, Hannah Wheatcroft, Jeff Pollock, Eric Cohen
Bottom Left to Right: Cara Frank, Jake Wollan, Witt Williams, Chris Smith, Artem Novoselov, Sean Esson
Photo Credit to Amelia Hamilton and Hugh Carey
2019, Italy: Extraordinary things happened.
Our team traveled halfway around the globe, trained around the clock, raced their hearts out, caught the world's attention and brought home 5 medals: 2 gold medals, 1 silver and 2 bronzes! Together with the USA hockey gold medal win, USA placed 5th on the overall medal count against 34 countries!
Top/Left: Jake Wollan. Bottom/Right: Witt Williams. Photo credit: Hugh Carey
Our team kicked off the Deaflympics with the downhill alpine ski race on the Deborah Compagnoni course in Santa Caterina, Italy - catching the world's eye with USA's Jake Wollan finishing in a very respectable 7th place and Witt Williams taking 12th. The downhill race was followed by the Sprint Classic and the 5km Individual Classic where USA's lone XC skier, Christopher Smith finished in the top 20. Newcomer alpine skier, Artem Novoselov later made his Deaflympics debut in the Super G and made his home state of New Jersey proud.
The alpine ski team had a presence in all disciplines: Downhill, Alpine Combined (Downhill/Slalom), Super G, Giant Slalom and Slalom. Our athletes were fortunate to have the guidance of 3 time qualified junior Olympics athlete and coach, Tal Williams along with experienced and talented assistant ski coach Anders Wollan.
Top/Left: Chris Smith. Bottom/Right: Artem Novoselov. Photo Credit: Hugh Carey
The alpine snowboarding Parallel Giant Slalom and Parallel Slalom saw 5 time Deaflympic contender and 2015 USA’s flag bearer, Jeff Pollock finish in 9th and 8th respectively. Following Jeff's race, the entire snowboard team participated in the long anticipated Snowboard Cross race with USA men finishing in the top 17 out of 27 racers and USA women in the top 9 out of 13. Soon after, the freestyle snowboard team relocated to Chiesa in Valmalenco, a 2 hour trip for the Slopestyle and Big Air competition.
Both photos: Alpine Snowboarder Jeff Pollock. Photo Credit: Hugh Carey
Upon arrival, the freestyle team dominated the competition with 5 medals. Sean Esson and 2019 USA flag bearer, Lauren Weibert took home the gold in Slopestyle. The very next day, they were on the podium again, with Esson taking 3rd in the male category and Weibert 2nd, with Lauren Benedict 3rd, along with Hannah Wheatcroft placing 4th in Big Air, showing lots of potential for the next Deaflympics. Eric Cohen withdrew from both events after sustaining a knee injury during practice. He was however the epitome of USA Team spirit during the competition, leading the cheers for all.
Top/Left: Team reacts to Lauren Benedict winning the Bronze for Slopestyle. Photo Credit: Hugh Carey. Bottom/Right: Laurens hang on the left during the Boardercross Race. Photo Credit: Amelia Hamilton.
The ski and snowboard team leave Italy with an inseparable bond and a lifetime of memories. Our wins are the one way we can thank you for supporting our team. Your support granted our athletes the privilege to compete at an international level and realize their dreams. Your support makes this 2020 New Year a true celebration, not merely a passage of time, but the promise of championing our athletes journey towards what lies ahead, building a greater tomorrow while honoring the legacy built... GO USA!
Left to Right: Lauren Weibert, Eric Cohen and Sean Esson embodies the USA spirit!