- Thomas Walsh captured the first world championship medal of his career with bronze in the men’s giant slalom.
- Team USA earned five top-10 finishes in tech events in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.
- Super-G, downhill and super combined races continue Tuesday, Jan. 29 in Sella Nevea, Italy.
Colorado Springs, Colo. – Thomas Walsh (Vail, Colorado) stepped onto the world championship podium for the first time in his career on Monday, Jan. 21, winning bronze in the men’s standing division of the giant slalom. The Vail native put together two solid runs on the opening day of competition at the World Para Alpine Skiing Championships to win Team USA’s first medal in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.
Walsh has previously found success on the hill in Kranjska Gora, which is where he also won his first world cup medal in giant slalom in 2016. The 23-year-old is coming off winning two world cup silver medals, which were his first of the season, last week in Zagreb, Croatia.
In addition to Walsh’s bronze medal, Team USA earned four more top-10 finishes in tech events: fifth place for Anna Beninati (Park City, Utah) in the women’s slalom sitting, sixth place for Andrew Kurka (Palmer, Alaska) in the men’s giant slalom sitting, sixth place for Kevin Burton (Denver, Colorado) and guide Kurt Grimmelmann (West Milford, New Jersey) in the men’s visually impaired slalom, and ninth place for Spencer Wood (Pittsfield, Vermont) in the men’s slalom standing.
Team USA will travel to Sella Nevea, Italy for training days before competing in speed events starting Tuesday, Jan. 29. Beginning with downhill where Kurka will seek to defend his world title, races will continue with super combined on Thursday, Jan. 31 followed by super-G on Friday, Feb. 1.
“I’m really happy about my results. It was a challenging course, but I really love Kranjska Gora. It’s where I earned my first world cup medal and a few more since then, and I couldn’t be happier with finishing third in the giant slalom.”
“This is my first major competition medal and I couldn’t be happier with it knowing it was on this hill and in giant slalom, which is my favorite event and one of my stronger disciplines. I’ve really worked hard to get to this point and to be up there on the podium with all those guys who have made major waves in the circuit and have medaled at the Games. It really gives me some confidence to know that I’m up there on the same level as them. Starting off a major event with positive momentum is always good. It allows me to focus on fast skiing and putting the hammer down for the following races. I want to try to gain off the success and experience of it, ultimately moving towards the next Paralympic Winter Games. It’s a little over three years out but I think this is a good way to start that journey at these world championships.”
“Looking forward, I’m excited for the speed races to come. I’ve been putting in a lot of effort and training this summer at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as at on-snow camps. I’m really trying to improve a lot of technique and fundamentals within my skiing in addition to strength and conditioning.”
U.S. Paralympics Alpine Team Medal Count: 1
Bronze: 1 – Thomas Walsh (giant slalom)
The U.S. will compete next at the world championships in speed events starting with downhill on Tuesday, Jan. 29, followed by super combined on Thursday, Jan. 31 and super-G on Friday, Feb. 1.
Follow U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For live results, visit the Team USA Medal Tracker as well as the IPC website. The world championships are also available on live stream via OlympicChannel.com.