CRESTED BUTTE, COLO., FEB. 4 -- Pam Fletcher and Jeff Olson, the top-ranked American downhill skiers on the World Cup circuit this season, captured their specialties today in the opening events of the U.S. Alpine Ski Championships.
Fletcher, who has had three top-15 finishes on the World Cup and figures to be one of the United States' best hopes for an alpine medal in the Winter Olympics, cruised to a comfortable victory in claiming her third national women's downhill title and second in a row.
Fletcher, 25, of Acton, Mass., was timed in 1 minute 22.05 seconds over the relatively short, flat course that was made faster by bright sunshine. Hilary Lindh, 18, of Juneau was second in 1:23.71.
Olson, who finished 11th in a World Cup downhill in Switzerland Jan. 24, was more than a half-second faster than ski team veteran Mike Brown in the men's race.
Olson, 22, of Bozeman, Mont., was timed in 1:25.31 seconds.
Misha Moritz, 17, of Vail, Colo., was airlifted to a Denver hospital after he suffered head injuries when he crashed during the men's downhill. A hospital spokesman said Moritz was listed in serious condition and is in intensive care.
Bill Johnson, the 1984 Olympic downhill champion who was not named to the 1988 U.S. Olympic team, finished 10th in 1:27.45.
Doug Lewis, the defending national men's downhill champion, did not compete while he recuperates from a broken collarbone. He was named to the Olympic team, however, and is expected to ski in Calgary.