FILE UNDER -- Alpine

TORINO: Marco Sullivan confirms security drama (and classiness) of Daron Rahlves

TORINO: Marco Sullivan confirms security drama (and classiness) of Daron Rahlves{mosimage}SESTRIERE, Italy – Marco Sullivan made a mistake on the top section of the third and final training run on Saturday, putting him out of contention for an Olympic spot. He was in a time-trial duel with Scott Macartney, with whom he shares skis and a serviceman.

The U.S. downhill team will consist of Daron Rahlves, Bode Miller, Steve Nyman and Macartney. Sullivan will be pulling for Rahlves.

‘Last night I hung out with him’ said Sullivan. ‘Everyone else went to the Opening Ceremony and him and I stayed back. He was giving me tips on the course. We watched video together for like an hour.’

Sullivan and Rahlves are old friends from Lake Tahoe. ‘He wanted me to be in there more than anybody’ said Sullivan.

Sullivan confirmed a rumor that has been going about regarding Rahlves and a confrontation at one of Sestriere’s many security checkpoints. On Thursday, just before winning the first training run, Rahlves was waylaid by the Carabinieri the Italian military police.

Rahlves, in a hurry to get to the top of the mountain, put his belongings on an X-ray machine’s conveyor belt, and while passing through the machine, some loose money fell out.

‘I guess there was a Euro on the conveyor belt’ said Sullivan, laughing. ‘He was, like, pointing at it or something. All of a sudden there was like six Carabinieri around him. They thought he was trying to bribe his way through the security gate with one Euro.’

Sullivan couldn’t answer when a reporter pointed out that there was no such thing as a one-Euro note only fives, tens, twenties and so on.

‘Huh, I don’t know’ said Sullivan. ‘But there was a full-time Carabinieri sitting outside of the buses’ he said, referring to the motorhomes Miller and Rahlves have parked just outside the athletes’ village.

In December of 2003, Sullivan blew out his knee on the final jump at the Birds of Prey downhill when he failed to land a freestyle trick that he was attempting (it was a training run).

U.S. Ski Team officials publicly called it a judgment lapse, but Rahlves leaped to his friend’s defense, saying the U.S. Ski Team asked downhillers to risk their lives every day and that Sullivan’s actions on the hill should never be second-guessed.

“He’s a classy athlete who takes winning and losing very well,” said Sullivan, who returned to the World Cup in November at Lake Louise. “He’s the hardest-working guy out there. This is a flat course. [Michael] Walchhofer outweighs him by 50 pounds. If [Rahlves] wins it’ll be because he’s the best skier on the hill. That’s just the way he does it.”

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