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Alpine Skiing Medal Favorites at the 2010 Winter Olympics

Before you begin watching the alpine skiing events at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, you’ll want to know who the medal favorites are. The best way to gauge who might the medals at the Olympics in alpine skiing is to look at who’s been winning at this season’s World Cup events.

The countries that have been doing the best this season are Austria, Switzerland, Italy, USA, and France, in that order. The racers from these countries definitively have the most momentum. It’s important to realize that in most races the top 10 finishers are only separated by a tenth of a second. So, on any given day, any of the top racers could come out ahead.

Women

Here are the six women that you need to keep an eye on at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Lindsey Vonn (USA)

Hailing from St. Paul, MN, Lindsey Vonn is on a role. At a recent World Cup event in Haus Im Ennstal, Austria, Lindsey became the first American to ever to win on three straight days of World Cup competition. Lindsey is the reigning downhill and super-G world champion and has won both the 2008 and 2009 overall World Cup titles. Vonn hopes to medal in each of the five Olympic alpine events.

Maria Riesch (Germany)

Maria Riesch, from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, is likely to medal in slalom. She never finished below sixth in the ten World Cup slalom events this season and she won five of them. Incidentally, Maria and Lindsey are best friends.

Kathrin Zettel (Austria)

The Austrian alpine team is particularly strong and Kathrin is one of the best. Kathrin, from Gostling, Scheibbs, is the current Austrian National Champion in both Slalom and Giant Slalom. Kathrin finished fourth in World Cup standings. To top it off she’s just coming off of a big win in Slalom and Giant Slalom at Marribor in January.

Anja Paerson (Sweden)

Anja Paerson, from Umea, Sweden, has to be considered as a strong contender. Anja has a history of success, with five Olympic medals and six World Cup medals and 40 World Cup wins. Although she has had a few difficult seasons lately, 2009 was a good year for her and she finished third overall.

Sandrine Aubert (France)

This will be Sandrine’s first Olympics. From Echirolles, Isere, Sandrine is a relative newcomer to the event; however, she is having a phenomenal year. In fact, she’s won 4 World Cup Slalom races in the past year and is at the top of the standings in Slalom.

Kathrin Holzl (Germany)

Another Olympic newcomer is Kathrin Holzl from Berchtesgaden, Bavaria. Although she made her World Cup debut in 2001, she didn’t really come into her own until 2007 when she finished 5th overall in Giant Slalom. This has been a great season for Kathrin with two World Cup victories and a win at the 2009 World Ski Champion in Giant Slalom.

Men

If you see one of these five men listed in a skiing event at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, you know it's going to be a good race.

Benjamin Raich (Austria)

Benjamin Raich won gold in the 2006 Torino Olympics Slalom and Giant Slalom races and he’s back again. Benjamin, from Arzl im Pitztal, Tyrol, has stayed near the top of international racing for a decade now. He medaled in 7 of his 17 World Ski Championship races and had three victories in 2009 year in Giant Slalom and Super Combined.

Carlo Janka (Switzerland)

Carlo Janka, from Obersaxen, Graubunden, is one of the strongest members of the Swiss team. He won the Giant Slalom event at the 2009 World Championship of Val d'Isere, France, and came in third in Downhill. Carlo is strong in all four alpine skiing events and in December won three different events at a World Cup competition.

Didier Cuche (Switzerland)

Didier Cuche, from Le Paquier, is another Swiss powerhouse skier. Didier won a World Cup Event title in each of the last three seasons and a total of eleven World Cup race wins overall—three victories in 2009 alone.

Manfred Moelgg (Italy)

Manfred Moelgg, from Bunico, Bolzan-Bozen, is a slalom and giant slalom specialist. Manfred has two World cup race victories and one World Cup season title. He is also the current National Slalom champ of Italy.

Julien Lizeroux (France)

Julien Lizeroux, from Moutiers, Savoie, is one of France’s top medal hopefuls. Julien is having a great year this year. He has three World Cup victories this season and won silver medals in both Slalom and Super Combined at the 2009 World Championships at Val d'Isere, France.

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