FILE UNDER -- Alpine

Healthy Marco Sullivan takes giant step forward, finishing downhill training run

Healthy Marco Sullivan takes giant step forward, finishing downhill training run{mosimage}Marco Sullivan took his first run down a World Cup slope in almost two years on Wednesday, starting 35th and finishing 30th in the first training run for the first downhill of the 2005-06 season at Lake Louise.

‘I had the wrong mindset for sure’ joked Sullivan in the finish area. ‘I was going down that whole course, in every tough section, going ‘Don’t crash, don’t crash,’ which is not sweet.’

Sullivan’s teammate and fellow Californian Daron Rahvles waited in the finish area to watch his friend arrive. ‘He’s the one guy who’s always laughing, smiling’ Rahlves said. ‘It’s just fun to have him around.’

Still ranked in the top 60 in the world, Sullivan can start any World Cups he wants this year. He is still trying out a whole quiver of new Salomon skis, tuned by Brian Burnett, the serviceman he shares with teammate Scott Macartney.

Sullivan blew his knee out in December 2003 during a downhill training run in Beaver Creek – a nasty, avoidable crash off that course’s final jump. Extensive reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation followed, and he was preparing for the 2004-05 season when he blew his ACL out again last fall while training in Tignes, France.

He says his knee hurts during freeskiing, but not when it really counts. ‘There’s a little bit of pain, but it doesn’t hurt me on the course when the adrenaline is pumping.’

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