Five New Englanders headline alpine ski team

February 12, 2010 - 8:28 am

Lindsey Vonn has gobbled up most of the Olympic headlines heading into Vancouver, but there are still other competitors on the team. There are five U.S. Olympic hopefuls from the New England region all looking to come back home with a gold, silver or bronze medal. Here is a look at the New England-born alpine skiers who will showcase their skills on the biggest stage of them all. For a glance at the entire roster, click here. Bode Miller Has there ever been a more polarizing figure in the history of the Olympics than Bode Miller? Considered a mortal lock to win multiple medals four years ago, Miller came up empty in the Torino Games and considered retirement. But the Franconia, NH., product is back in the saddle for the U.S. alpine team in Vancouver, hopefully 100 percent sober. Miller made headlines with a 60 Minutes interview where he said that he has skied drunk, and said he would potentially do it again. Not the message you want to send to kids, Bode, especially after the heralded deaths of Michael Kennedy and Sonny Bono on the mountain. This could be Miller'€™s last hurrah for the Olympic ski team, and a career without a medal will leave him in the company of a Charles Barkley, Dan Marino or Karl Malone. Great careers, but never broke through when it counted most. Hey, if this ski thing doesn'€™t work out for Miller, at least he has a potential future in tennis. Jimmy Cochran Being an Olympic skier has always been in Cochran'€™s blood. He probably didn'€™t have a choice. His family has been part of the Olympic scene for decades, and he is the latest installment of the '€œSkiing Cochrans.'€ Just like a son who takes over a family business, it was almost as if the skiing duties were handed down to Jimmy. His grandfather was an Olympic coach, his father was an Olympian and three of his aunts also competed in Olympic competition. So there really was no hiding what this Keene, N.H., native was going to do when he got older. Cochran is looking to break through onto the medal stand after he finished in 12th place during the 2006 Torino Games. Nolan Kasper At 20 years old, Kasper is the youngest member of the U.S. ski team. If Kasper takes to the medal stand, he can'€™t legally enjoy an adult beverage in the United States. (See: Miller, Bode.) Kasper took a leave from Dartmouth to take aim at the US team, and the risk paid off. The two skiers listed above will overshadow the Vermont native, but Kasper can make a name for himself in New England if Miller fails to do anything and if Cochran doesn'€™t improve on his finish from the last games. Chelsea Marshall Marshall followed in the footsteps of her brothers, Cody and Jesse, much like Cochran followed his family name. Her two older brothers were member of the US ski team, but a terrible accident stopped Cody'€™s progress as a full-time skier and Chelsea was by his side the whole time. Marshall also had to overcome an injury of her own. A bad back hindered her in the World Championships in 2009, which affected her performance, but a healthy 2010 has her geared up for a run in Vancouver. Leanne Smith In 2008, Smith suffered a torn ACL during competition and her career was in jeopardy. But the Conway, N.H., native bounced back in Tom Brady-esque fashion and is now eying success in Vancouver. She'€™s probably hoping her runs don'€™t end up like this fall she took in competition. Smith has become a local hero in her hometown of Conway, NH. The locals have honored her name by dedicating Feb. 5 in her name from here on out. Not many people have a day named after them, and imagine what happens if she comes back with a meda -- a Leanne Smith Month could come to Conway.