The Wall Street Journal: The U.S. Talent Pool Is Frozen
With the Winter Olympics looming, the Americans have fewer can’t-miss stars
Team USA’s glorious 16-year run in the Winter Olympics appears ready to take a break next year in South Korea.
After four Olympics in which the U.S. produced the best crop of winter-sports athletes it has ever known, its prospects a year ahead of the 2018 Games are diminished significantly. The team’s core in multiple sports for the past decade has grown older and the next generation of can’t-miss stars isn’t ready to take its place.
Consider alpine skiing. The team has a bonafide star in 21-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin, but its already murky hopes for widespread success soured last week, when two-time giant slalom gold medalist Ted Ligety announced he would undergo back surgery to repair three herniated discs. A torn ACL ended Ligety’s season prematurely last year. He still plans to be ready for Pyeongchang, but a 33-year-old coming off back surgery is hardly a lock for the podium.[…]
Photo credit: Rick Bowmer/Associated Press