A. J. Kitt
|— Alpine ski racer —|
September 13, 1968 |
Rochester, NY, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|World Cup debut||January 1988
|Teams||4 – (1988-98)|
|Teams||4 – (1989, '91, '93, '97)|
|Medals||1 (0 gold)|
|Seasons||11 - (1988-98)|
|Wins||1 – (1 DH)|
|Podiums||6 – (5 DH, 1 SG)|
|Overall titles||0 – (10th – 1992)|
|Discipline titles||0 – (3rd in DH, 1992)|
AJ Kitt (born September 13, 1968) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer from the United States. A member of the U.S. Ski Team for over a decade, Kitt retired from international competition following the 1998 season, at age 29. He had 21 top ten finishes and six World Cup podiums, which included one downhill victory. Kitt was a bronze medalist in the downhill at the 1993 World Championships. Kitt resides in Hood River, Oregon. Kitt is also credited with 3 Victories on the World Cup circuit which were subsequently nullified by FIS officials due to weather conditions that did not allow the entire field of competitors to start the race. In each race AJ was awarded the race's prize money and trophies. However, the FIS did not award the World Cup points.
Born and raised in Rochester, NY. AJ started skiing at just two years of age at Swain Ski Center in western New York, where his parents, Ross and Nancy, were part-time ski instructors. AJ began racing at age 6 and raced in the Genesee Valley Ski Council until age 14. In 1983 he began attending a ski academy in Lake Placin, NY called Mountain House School. Two years later as a high school Junior AJ transferred to Green Mountain Vally School in Waitsfield, VT, where he graduated in 1986. During a post graduate year training and racing as part of what is considered the first privateer ski team in U.S. history, Kitt and many of his training team members were selected to the U.S. Ski Team's National Training Group, the development team.
In only his first full season of World Cup racing, AJ qualified to compete in the Olympic games at age 19. The 1988 Calgary Olympics would be Kitt's first of 4 Olympics. He was the first American male to compete in 4 Winter Olympics. Kitt is said to have "breathed life into a stagnant U.S. Ski team" when he won his first World Cup race in Val d'Isere, France on December 7, 1991. It was the first victory of any kind for an American male in 7 years. AJ spent much of the 1992 season ranked in the top 5 in the Downhill standings, and finished strong at the end of the season to take 3rd overall, the best season for an American downhiller at the time.
In 1993 Kitt won the Bronze medal at the World Championships in Morioka, Japan. He joined Doug Lewis as the only American men to win a World Championship medal in Downhill. During the 1990s AJ won 4 National Championships.
The beginning of the 1996 season marked a turning point in his career when AJ crashed hard in the 2nd race of the season and suffered a torn ACL, along with other associated damage to his left knee. After surgery and 6 months of rehabilitation Kitt returned to the mountains and began to prepare for the World Cup season. The remainder of his career saw only one more top-10 result, many top-20's and plenty of frustration. AJ battled chronic back injuries for 2 more seasons before retiring after the 1998 ski season.
World Cup podiums
|1992||7 Dec 1991||Val d'Isère, France||Downhill||1st|
|18 Jan 1992||Kitzbühel, Austria||Downhill||2nd|
|7 Mar 1992||Panorama, BC, Canada||Downhill||3rd|
|1993||12 Dec 1992||Val Gardena, Italy||Downhill||3rd|
|1995||26 Feb 1995||Whistler, BC, Canada||Super G||2nd|
|15 Mar 1995||Bormio, Italy||Downhill||2nd|
AJ Kitt continues to support ski racing in many forms. The Kitt Cup is a season long race series which takes place at the Swain ski resort where he first began his training.
He has been the traveling NASTAR pacesetter since 1999, and continues to provide race coaching . AJ Kitt also gives inspirational guest speaking engagements to youth ski racers everywhere.
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