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Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Updated: February 5, 3:00 PM ET
Daron Rahlves Podiums in Austria Skier Cross


Daron Rahlves landed on the podium at a World Cup ski cross yesterday, Jan. 5, at St. Johann/Oberndorf, Austria, securing a likely qualifying berth to the Vancouver Games.

Coming in the third-of-six World Cup SX's, which serve as the Olympic qualifying series, Rahlves' second place finish at St. Johann follows fellow American Casey Puckett's third place in the first World Cup of the season, Dec. 21, in Italy. This puts the longtime U.S. Ski Team tandem of Rahlves and Puckett in Olympic pole position, each having attained qualifying criteria No. 1 (a World Cup SX podium finish), but still racing remains.

At St. Johann, Rahlves qualified second and won his quarter and semifinal heats. In the final, he trailed Germany's Simon Stickl (FIS results). Canadian David Duncan was third; Puckett was 13th. In the ladies race, Canada's Julia Murray was third; Caitlin Ciccone was the top American (30th).

The next World Cup ski cross is slated for Saturday at Les Contamines, France, followed by three more (in France, Canada and, finally, Lake Placid, N.Y.) that count toward Olympic qualifying. But, Rahlves, according to his blog, is headed back to California... mission accomplished.

Writes Rahlves on his blog, daronrahlves.com, "In the final I got tangeled up skating to the first turn and was in 4th. This became the most aggressive run I've had in ski cross with lots of contact and pushing the line to cut off and pass Schmidt and then Duncan through the double. 2nd place tonight in Austria felt good and that sealed a spot for me on the US Olympic Team. I'll fly home tomorrow and take some time off with the fam, then head to Lake Placid, N.Y. for the U.S. Ski Cross World Cup on Jan 24, then X Games Jan 31."