Cochran-Siegle Featured in the Boston Globe
Though Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete, Olympian, and FIS Ski World Cup winner Ryan Cochran-Siegle is sidelined with injury, he's staying optimistic about the upcoming Olympic year, and recently caught up with the Boston Globe's John Powers for a status update and to talk about the Cochran family's legacy.
Cochran-Siegle, who grabbed his first World Cup podium this season in Val Gardena, Italy, with a second-place in downhill, followed that up with a World Cup victory in super-G at Bormio, Italy, 10 days later. He was looking strong and fast in training and on downhill day at the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbuehel, Austria, before crashing into the net and sustaining a "minor neck fracture."
RCS, as he’s known on the slopes, was supposed to be in Italy last month as the top American men’s speed racer at the biennial Alpine world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. But one untimely slip and a scary crash in Kitzbuehel, Austria, in January left Ryan Cochran-Siegle with a minor cervical fracture and abruptly ended the best season of his decade-long career on the US ski team.
“In a way, it seems like I left a lot on the table,” said the 28-year-old from Starksboro, Vt., whose Super G victory in Bormio and second-place finish in the Val Gardena downhill set him up for potential podium finishes in both events at Cortina. “But you can’t have too many regrets. I was skiing well, and that’s what I need to focus on.”
Cochran-Siegle, who competed in four events at the last Winter Olympics, is gunning for another shot at next year’s Beijing Games and another opportunity to add to the legacy of the country’s First Family of Alpine skiing, which goes back for more than half a century.
Ryan’s mother Barbara Ann won the slalom at the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, where her brother Bob and sister Marilyn each competed in three events, and sister Lindy raced at the 1976 Games in Innsbruck. Their children continued the star-spangled tradition. Jimmy Cochran competed in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, and Tim, Robby, and Jessica Kelley and Roger Brown all raced on the national team.
In the interview, his cousin Jimmy Cochran speaks of Ryan's natural ability for skiing and his desire to practice and focus on the journey rather than the results—an approach his mother instilled in her children.
“He was practicing his starts out on the snowbank,” he said. “It was pitch black and he had skied all day. There was never a doubt that Ryan was going to ski until the lifts close.”
“He’s like a dog that’s meant to run,” observed Jimmy, who runs Cochran’s Ski Area. “Ryan was meant to be a ski racer. That’s what he’s always wanted to do. It’s built into the fabric of his being.”
Cochran-Siegle is recovering nicely and has been enjoying time with his family and girlfriend at home in Vermont. He's hungry for more, and will undoubtedly be one to watch in the 2021-22 season en route to the Beijing 2022 Olympics. On his journey, he'll remember the advice his mother gave him when he left for his lat Olympics in Korea “Enjoy the moment. Have fun with it." As Powers wrote, "Six decades later, that remains the Cochran Way."