For the first time since 1970, when Billy Kidd won an FIS gold medal at Val Gardena, there are signs that the American men's team also is about to produce top skiers. Already this season two young American unknowns, Geoff Bruce, 22, of Corning, N.Y. and Greg Jones, 21, of Tahoe City, Calif., have performed surprisingly well. Bruce finished fourth in a slalom at Madonna di Campiglio. Jones, starting in 37th place for the giant slalom at Madonna, slammed through two startling runs to come out of the pack and finish second. There have been other impressive performances among U.S. men starting far down in the crowd. Four Americans were in the top 15 downhill finishers at Garmisch, and the U.S. men have already gained more World Cup points in the first six weeks of the season than they totaled all last year.
Tauber says, "We count this year as a learning experience, but we're already way ahead of expectations in our results. We think we've got a stable organization this year, there aren't the conflicts on the team there have been in the past and, most important, we've come to the World Cup circuit this year with a whole different philosophy. We consider this a professional sport, and by that I mean that we are here to produce winners just as a professional team is supposed to win. We are not here to carry around a bunch of kids simply representing the good old U.S. in Europe. They are here to win."