News: One Year To The Winter Olympics In Sochi

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PARK CITY, UT – 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 off a Best in the World Olympics in Vancouver that saw 17 different skiers and snowboarders win 21 medals.

Venues in Sochi are undergoing final tests this month. Freeskiing 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?

Freeskiing

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.

“It's hard to believe the Olympics are only a year away!” slopestyle skier Tom Wallisch said. “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.”

Halfpipe skier Maddie Bowman is blown away by to opportunity.

“It's crazy to think that freeskiing is going to be in the Olympics,” Bowman said. “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, also a halfpipe skier, is excited represent his sport in the Olympics for the first time.

“The Olympics! Wow, only a year away,” Wise said. “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.”

Snowboarding

Top snowboarders were in Laax, Switzerland, for the Burton European Open. Now it’s off to Sochi for halfpipe and SBX test events.

“I love my country and I really hope that I will be able to be on that Olympic team next year,” slopestyle rider Chas Guldemond said. “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.”

Halfpipe rider Scotty Lago hopes to return to the Olympics in 2014.

“I had such a great experience in Vancouver - there was so much fun energy around the games,” Lago said. “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.”

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