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U.S. ski team technician sent home for failing to tune athlete's skis

U.S. ski team technician sent home for failing to tune athlete's skis

The U.S. ski team's head technician has been sent home from the World Cup tour for failing to prepare Scott Macartney's skis for a race after a night out.
Brian Burnett was indefinitely removed from the circuit after failing to tune Macartney's skis in time for a World Cup super-combined race in Wengen, Switzerland, 12 days ago.
Burnett told The Associated Press he had "violated ski team policy" and was responsible for Macartney missing the race.
"It wasn't that I was on the town all that much, but yes, I'd been out," Burnett said in a telephone interview. "I had a tough time making it to the ski room and because of my behavior Scott was not able to race."
The team is supporting Burnett, who is very popular with the skiers and coaches, and plans to allow him to return.
"Brian is a valuable employee for us and we hope to get him back in the field as soon as we can," U.S. Alpine director Jesse Hunt said.
Burnett, who waxes and sharpens skis to make them ready for races, said he is seeking professional help.
"Right now I'm working with a counselor and following his recommendations for treatment and rehab," Burnett said.
It is uncertain when Burnett will be allowed back.
"I have not been fired," Burnett said. "I messed up pretty bad and they are giving me a chance to heal up and come back strong. They're supporting me and making sure I know I'm still part of the team. ... I feel pretty lucky."
Burnett is a longtime member of the U.S. team. He worked with the lower-tier Europa Cup squad alongside coaches Phil McNichol and John McBride, and all three eventually graduated to the World Cup team.
Burnett has followed Macartney and teammate Marco Sullivan through most of their national ski team careers. The charismatic technician also once tuned Bode Miller's speed skis.
"Brian is a great serviceman," said McNichol, the U.S. men's head coach. "He has tremendous sympathy and connection with the guys and he's been with the team a long time. The guys love him."
For now, Macartney and Sullivan will have their skis tuned by Erik Schlopy's technician, who became available after the world giant slalom bronze medalist injured his knee.
The U.S. team established a tough alcohol policy this season after Miller flaunted his late night habits in media interviews before last year's Turin Olympics.
Athletes and coaches are now forbidden from drinking alcohol in one another's presence, and at team activities such as meetings, dinners and video sessions.
"They're standing behind their policy and backing it up with action. It's for real," Burnett said. "Ultimately this is going to be positive for me. Ultimately this will be positive for the ski team."


Updated : 2021-07-26 07:11 GMT+08:00