A. J. Kitt

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A J Kitt
— Alpine skier —
Disciplines Downhill, Super-G, Combined
Born (1968-09-13) September 13, 1968 (age 45)
Rochester, New York, U.S.
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
World Cup debut January 1988
(age 19)
Retired March 1998 (age 29)
Olympics
Teams 4 – (198898)
Medals 0
World Championships
Teams 4 – (1989, '91, '93, '97)
Medals 1 (0 gold)
World Cup
Seasons 11 – (198898)
Wins 1 – (1 DH)
Podiums 6 – (5 DH, 1 SG)
Overall titles 0 – (10th in 1992)
Discipline titles 0 – (3rd in DH, 1992)

Alva Ross "AJ" Kitt IV[1] (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 specialized in the speed event of downhill, and also raced in Super-G and combined. He retired from international competition following the 1998 season with six World Cup podiums, which included one downhill victory. Kitt was a bronze medalist in the downhill at the 1993 World Championships. He also had the lead in three World Cup races 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, Kitt was awarded the race's prize money and trophies, but not the World Cup points.

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in Rochester in western New York, Kitt started skiing at two years of age at nearby Swain Ski Center where his parents, Ross and Nancy, were part-time ski instructors. Kitt 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 Placid, the Mountain House School. Two years later as a high school junior, Kitt transferred to Green Mountain Vally School in Waitsfield, Vermont, 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 in 1988, Kitt made the U.S. team at age 19 for the 1988 Winter Olympics at Calgary. He was the first American male alpine skier to compete in four Olympics, later passed by Bode Miller. 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 seven years. He spent much of the 1992 season ranked in the top five in the downhill standings, and finished strong at the end of the season to take third overall, the best season for an American downhiller at the time. He finished ninth in the downhill at the 1992 Winter Olympics, held on a different course than his World Cup victory two months prior.

In 1993, Kitt won the bronze medal at the World Championships in Morioka, Japan.[2][3] He joined Doug Lewis as the only American men to win a World Championship medal in downhill. He was challenging for another medal in the combined, but missed a gate in the slalom's second run, hiked back up and finished 28th.[4] During the 1990s, Kitt won four titles at the U.S. Alpine Championships.

Early in the 1996 season, he crashed hard in a downhill training run in early December at Val-d'Isère, the site of his only World Cup win four years earlier.[5] He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), along with other associated damage to his left knee, which ended his season, including the World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain. After surgery and six months of rehabilitation, Kitt returned for the 1997 season. The remainder of his career saw only one top-10 result, several top-20's and plenty of frustration. Kitt battled chronic back injuries in his final two seasons and retired in March 1998.

World Cup results[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Season Age Overall Slalom Giant
 Slalom 
Super G Downhill Combined
1989 19 99 44
1989 20 no World Cup points (top 15)
1991 21 51 15
1991 22 50 18 15
1992 23 10 36 3 8
1993 24 36 43 21 15
1994 25 55 45 21
1995 26 24 17 13 15
1996 27 132 56
1997 28 77 48 30
1998 29 92 54 38

Race podiums[edit]

  • 1 win – (1 DH)
  • 6 podiums – (5 DH, 1 SG), and 21 top tens
Season Date Location Discipline Place
1992 Dec 7, 1991 Val d'Isère, France Downhill 1st
Jan 18, 1992 Kitzbühel, Austria Downhill 2nd
Mar 7, 1992 Panorama, British Columbia, Canada Downhill 3rd
1993 Dec 12, 1992 Val Gardena, Italy Downhill 3rd
1995 Feb 26, 1995 Whistler, BC, Canada Super G 2nd
Mar 15, 1995 Bormio, Italy Downhill 2nd

World Championships results[edit]

  Year    Age   Slalom   Giant 
 Slalom 
Super G Downhill Combined
1989 20 32
1991 22 20 DNF SL1
1993 24 cancelled 3 28
1996 27 injured, did not compete
1997 28 25 23

Olympic results[edit]

Kitt competed in four Winter Olympics; his best finish was ninth place in the downhill at Val-d'Isère in 1992.

  Year    Age   Slalom   Giant 
 Slalom 
Super G Downhill Combined
1988 19 DSQ 26 DNF SL2
1992 23 23 9 DNS SL1
1994 25 DSQ 17
1998 29 DNF

Post career[edit]

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.[8][9]

Kitt resides in Hood River, Oregon.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anderson, Dave (February 10, 1992). "Downhill not fast enough for winner Ortlieb". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. (New York Times). p. %C. 
  2. ^ "Kitt, Moe crack top five in downhill". Bend (OR) Bulletin. Associated Press. February 11, 1993. p. D-2. 
  3. ^ "Kitt of US third in downhill". Milwaukee Journal. wire services. February 11, 1993. p. C3. 
  4. ^ "Missed gate costs Kitt in world meet". Deseret News. Associated Press. February 8, 1993. p. D4. 
  5. ^ "Kitt finds tragedy at site of triumph". Daily Gazette (Schenectady, New York). Associated Press. December 9, 1995. p. C2. 
  6. ^ "Miscellany". Spokesman-Review. January 24, 1991. p. D3. 
  7. ^ "U.S. ski team returning to championships". Deseret News. Associated Press. January 24, 1991. p. D5. 
  8. ^ Swain Kitt Cup Adult Racing
  9. ^ Nastar.com
  10. ^ "AJ Kitt". RE MAX. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]