Lake Tahoe, CA & NV (Feb. 11, 2010) - Lake Tahoe has long been synonymous with Olympic tradition and the region looks to keep this legacy alive as it sends close to a dozen athletes to the upcoming 2010 Winter Games while also hosting season-long Olympic heritage events and festivals. The Lake Tahoe region has a history of producing world-class athletes and remains a favorite training ground for elite winter sports athletes, including two defending gold medalists and a number of the US Ski and Snowboard Teams' most promising medal contenders headed to the Games. The region boasts no fewer than 50 US Ski Team members, 20 Olympians, and a dozen National Champions that have called the Tahoe Basin home over the years.
Lake Tahoe's legendary terrain, abundant snowfall, predictably sunny skies and high concentration of world-class resorts within close proximity have long served as proving grounds for athletes training for Olympic-caliber competitions. Athletes including Jimmy Heuga, Greg Jones, Tamara McKinney and Jonny Moseley have chosen to train on the slopes of the seven resorts surrounding Lake Tahoe given their perfect blend of dependable snow, challenging terrain, competitive spirit and laidback California lifestyle.
Over twenty Olympic hopefuls called the slopes of Lake Tahoe home this season as they pursued a spot on the US Ski and Snowboard Teams. The following is a synopsis of the Lake Tahoe-based athletes that were chosen to represent the United States during the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics.
Julia Mancuso - Alpine Skiing: The defending Gold Medalist in the Giant Slalom event, Julia is a true Squaw Valley local. Mancuso conquered a strong pool of competitors in less than perfect weather conditions during the 2006 Winter Olympics and is on pace to repeat in 2010.
Marco Sullivan - Alpine Skiing: Building on his experience from competing in the 2002 Winter Olympics, Marco has been training hard at his home mountain of Squaw Valley USA to earn his spot on the US Ski Team. With two national championships and two World Cup podium finishes under his belt, Marco is a solid contender for the Games.
Tim Jitloff - Alpine Skiing: In his Olympic debut, Reno-based skier Tim Jitloff is expected to compete in the entire spectrum of alpine skiing events including Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super G, and Super Combined.
Shannon Bahrke - Freestyle Skiing: One of the few female competitors throwing aggressive tricks such as D-spins and backflips, Shannon calls Squaw Valley USA her home mountain and is a familiar face within Olympic circles having previously competed in both the 2002 and 2006 Winter Games including coming home with a silver medal from Salt Lake City.
Stacey Cook - Alpine Skiing: Training on the local slopes while growing up in Truckee, Stacey's previous Olympic experience in the 2006 Winter Games is certain to pay dividends as she rounds out the Women's Alpine Team.
Elena Hight - Halfpipe: At age sixteen, Elena was the youngest female snowboarder to compete in the 2006 Winter Games, placing sixth in the Halfpipe event. Now with another four years of training at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, she continues to be a top competitor in Halfpipe competitions with several first place finishes this season.
Hannah Teeter - Halfpipe: The reigning Gold Medalist in Women's Halfpipe, Hannah was the first female snowboarder to land a 900 in competition and is a regular on the podium at competitions such as the Winter X Games. Hannah spends powder days in the trees at Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort and is a frontrunner to medal in the 2010 Winter Games.
Nate Holland - BoarderCross: With five Winter X Games gold medals already on his résumé, the Squaw Valley athlete is a favorite to bring home a medal thanks to his advantage of a previous Olympic appearance during the 2006 Winter Games.
Daron Rahlves - SkierCross: Known for his accomplishments on the Downhill, Super G and other traditional skiing disciplines, Daron garnered a feature role in the Lake Tahoe segment of this year's Warren Miller Film Dynasty and will be mixing things up during the 2010 Winter Games by competing in SkierCross.
Errol Kerr - SkierCross: A member of the Jamaican Ski Team training at Alpine Meadows, Errol combines fine-tuned technique with sheer determination as evidenced by his fifth place finish in his first Winter X-Games competition in 2008 and his first place North American Cup Skier Cross finish on Febr