One Year to Sochi
PARK CITY, UT (Feb. 6) – One year out from the opening of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, U.S. skiers and snowboarders are scattered across the globe anticipating the opportunities they will face 365 days from now. The opening ceremony for Sochi is Feb. 7, 2014 with the first medal events the next day. The USA is coming of a Best in the World Olympics in Vancouver that saw 17 different skiers and snowboarders win 21 medals.
- U.S. skiers and snowboarders are scattered around the globe in the midst of a highly successful competition season across all sports as the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi are 365 days away on Thursday, Feb. 7.
- For the first time in history, primetime coverage on NBC will begin the night before the Opening Ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014.
- The USA is coming off a Best in the World performance in Vancouver where 17 skiers and snowboarders won 21 medals.
- Venues in Sochi are undergoing final tests this month with nordic combined and cross country just completed. Freeskiing, freestyle and snowboarding athletes will compete in World Cup test events this month with U.S. Ski Team alpine racers conducting on-snow camps.
- Successful alpine test events were held a year ago with ski jumping this past December.
- Sochi will debut a host of new events including the inaugural appearance of women’s ski jumping, slopestyle snowboarding along with halfpipe and slopestyle skiing.
WHERE THEY ARE NOW?
Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso and rookie Mikaela Shiffrin are among the favorites as the U.S. Ski Team opens the 2013 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria. Lindsey Vonn suffered a season ending knee injury in the opening race, but is expected to be back for the Olympic season.
Cross Country Skiing
Fresh from a sprint victory on the Olympic trails near Sochi, Kikkan Randall and company are training in Davos, Switzerland, getting ready for a Feb. 16-17 World Cup then on to the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Freeskiers are coming off the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix where David Wise and Maddie Bowman swept to halfpipe titles. Athletes are preparing for the mid-February Olympic test events for halfpipe skiing and skicross at Rosa Khutor near Sochi. Slopestyle stars Tom Wallisch, Bobby Brown and Keri Herman appeared live on NBC’s The Today Show Wednesday morning, Feb. 6.
With an all-important Olympic test event coming up mid-February at Rosa Khutor, moguls skiers are preparing at a camp in Steamboat Springs including Olympic champion Hannah Kearney, who swept to a pair of wins last weekend at the Visa Freestyle International at Deer Valley Resort. Aerialists are training at the Utah Olympic Park.
Taylor Fletcher was impressive finishing fifth in a hard fought test event last weekend at the RusSki Gorki complex. The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team is taking two weeks off to prepare for the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Sarah Hendrickson has three World Cup wins this season, including one on the new RusSki Gorki jumping complex in December. Looking forward to their Olympic debut in Sochi, the women are on a FIS Ski Jumping World Cup swing through Japan where Hendrickson was third in Sapporo last Sunday and jumping in Zao next weekend.
Top snowboarders are in Laax, Switzerland for this weekend’s Burton European Open, then it’s off to Sochi for halfpipe and SBX test events.
The venue, the mountain is world class. It’s as nice as any of the places we ever go and it’s going to be amazing to host the Olympics here. I hope they really do as good a job they can, because the Olympics is such a perfect opportunity to showcase a venue, an area, a culture and a country and I think Russia right now is very due for that.
Russia is so intriguing and mysterious and it almost feels like that is another challenge added on top of an already Olympic sized challenge. It will be fun to be immersed in such a different culture and I am excited to take it on!
Sochi is the coolest hill I've ever seen for ski racing - downhill, super G - it doesn't matter. It is just awesome top-to-bottom. It's has really steep technical sections, really cool rolls and terrain with bank turns and then big jumps and the mountains around here are gorgeous.
When I first got here, I thought to myself "This is what I imagine an Olympic venue being" before I'd ever been to an Olympics so I think it really has an Olympic feel to it and I know it's going to get more exciting next year. I think it's a very fair course and I think it's going to bring a lot of drama to the Olympics. To me the Laura venue feels a lot like Alaska where I come from, so it feels like home here. They have done a really good job with the venue.
Being in Sochi has been sweet. The mountains here are amazing. It's high altitude and as Americans we're used to that. We spend a lot of time in Park City preparing for the high altitude so it's not a big deal. I like this course – I can do well on a short course or a long course and anything with big hills is good for me, so I'm pretty excited for the Olympics next year.
Emily Cook, aerials
Everything we do, every minute of training is to get us one step closer to Sochi and I want to be there more than anything. We are one year out and that makes Sochi as real as ever, it really puts it into perspective again. I'm looking forward to be able to experience a completely different part of the world. I am so lucky that this is my job!
Heather McPhie, moguls
Sochi seems so exotic and so beautiful. I've heard such amazing things about the venue from athletes who have competed there, that it has exceeded all expectations. I'm looking forward to experiencing everything that Sochi has to offer. I really like to throw myself into the local culture when we travel and I couldn't be more thrilled to experience all that Russia has to offer.
The cross country course at RusSki Gorki is very challenging. It's unrelenting out there. There's no rest at all so you have to ski smart and know what you're doing. Hopefully it suits me well next year and I can go out and ski my race like I know I can and challenge for the podium.
Sochi has done a lot of work to get this venue and events ready so I'm looking forward to what can happen next year. You have to kind of log the courses and the turns and hills in your head and use the tough ones for motivation and give yourself some rest on the easy parts. I'm definitely building that into the memory bank. There would be nothing better in the world than standing on the podium with your brother – it's definitely a goal.
This is the first peek at the Winter Games here in Sochi. We got a good look at the hill and I think it's working really well for a couple of our guys. It's clear to the rest of us what we need to work on the jump hill. I think our team physically prepares really well for big competitions. My cross country form is coming and the Fletcher brothers are skiing really strong so I think we're looking right now to get a peek here and get ready for this mentally.
Tom Wallisch, slopestyle
It's hard to believe the Olympics are only a year away! It's really exciting and I hope that I am one of the lucky ones that will have the honor to represent my country. If you would have asked me a couple years ago if I thought our sport would be in the Olympics - it just wasn't on my radar. I am really looking forward to checking out Russia and this next year ahead. I am sure it's going to be a really fun roller coaster.
Maddie Bowman, halfpipe
It's crazy to think that freeskiing is going to be in the Olympics, I mean, this is really happening and it's only a year away! Holy cow! The last couple months have been going so well for me and I hope that my skiing continues to improve and I can stay on top of my game. I will be keeping my eye on the countdown. I am looking forward to the next 365 days and the adventure my teammates and I are about to go on.
David Wise, halfpipe
The Olympics! Wow, only a year away. It really is an exciting opportunity and something that I am looking forward to. Not just the potential to compete in the Olympics and all that comes with it, but the journey my teammates and I are about to embark on. It's going to be a lot of work, but this is a really special time in our lives and I am going to enjoy every minute of it- the good, the challenging and whatever comes my way.
I’ve dedicated my life, hopes and dreams to ski jumping and I’m thrilled that our sport will be showcased at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. For our sport this means a huge step in the right direction. We are ready.
It's hard to put into words how honored we will be to compete in the Olympics as part of the first group of women ski jumpers ever. It will be such a historical event and to take part will be outstanding.
Chas Guldemond, slopestyle
I love my country and I really hope that I will be able to be on that Olympic team next year. I have been trying to stay really focused and perfect my run, there are always ups and downs, but I am going to do my best to be there. I've never been to Russia and I hope that I get to be there with my team.
Scotty Lago, halfpipe
I had such a great experience in Vancouver - there was so much fun energy around the games. And here we are, a year away from Sochi and all the guys are riding so well. It's been fun to watch everyone learn new tricks and ride together. The year before Vancouver had a lot of twists and turns and it all worked out well for me. I hope that I can continue to ride solid so that I have the opportunity to go to Sochi in 2014.
Nate Holland, snowboardcross
One year out from Sochi Olympics is an exciting time for everyone. It's a bit of a wake up call knowing that I have one year to fine tune my riding to showcase on the world stage.
Jonathan Cheever, snowboardcross
There is a lot of snowboarding between now and the Olympics. Of course, representing my country and winning them is my goal, but executing now, to put me in a position to be there is priority. I've heard some athletes say that the Olympics is just another snowboard race. Well, it isn't. It's the Olympics, our biggest stage. Keeping a level head to have the opportunity to get there and win is a challenge. Being on one of the most competitive teams to get to the Olympics makes it tough to think about what it would mean to me to be there now. In all honesty, I want to get ride like a boss, qualify early so I can take the pressure off myself. Thinking about how awesome it would be ride for the US at the Olympics is great, but I need to live in the now.