For skier Andrew Weibrecht, a bronze in the super G at the Vancouver Olympics and silver in Sochi are confirmation he belongs as one of the best ski racers in the world. His humble demeanor is a breath of fresh air in comparison to all the high drama surrounding other Olympic athletes.
Known as "War Horse" for his hard work and go for it attitude, Weibrecht is built like a tank and is a fearless skier.
"It's been hard getting beat down for three years and to still keep going," Weibrecht said. "There have been many times I was like, why keep going?"
He has overcome injuries and even losing his spot on the US ski team prior to the FIS World Cup season.
"I just wanted to return to be one of the best again," Weibrecht said. "Prior to my last injuries, I was skiing among the best of the best and that felt good. I knew it could happen again."
It did. Starting from the 29th position, he skied a flawless run on the Olympic Super G course at the Rosa Khutor Resort. The run felt so good he soaked it all in before checking the scoreboard at the finish.
He is a regular guy, too. You can find him in the summer coaching kids at Mount Hood or fishing or golfing and hanging around with his family at his home in Lake Placid, NY..
"He is an inspiration to the everyday man," said Robert Wright, who knows Weibrecht from ski camps and Holiday Valley in New York, "Andrew just works hard and loves to ski."
In what many would consider a lackluster career where he has not been in the top 10 once since 2012, he gives us all a reason to keep going.
"Life is a garden, just dig it," Weibrecht said.
That attitude produced a bumper crop – bronze and silver in the past two Olympic games.
Listen to my interview with Weibrecht in the audio player below:
Olympic snowboarder Danny Davis loves to ride his snowboard. At a press conference just prior the the Olympics, Davis mentioned he had just been riding powder.
"We rode some sweet pow today," he said. "I just love to ride."
Davis's career has been full of ups and downs. He was rookie of the year in 2006, but has had his share of injuries. He was in contention for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, but he was injured in an ATV accident while intoxicated and shattered his lumbar vertebrae and his pelvis.
This year has seen him return to the top form once again. Here at the Olympics, he fell in the finals of the halfpipe competition. Davis has been vocal about teammate Shaun White's fourth place showing in the same competition.
"They gave White a gift, after he too fell during his run," Davis said.
I caught up with Davis on the gondola on a ride down to town from the Rosa Khutor Resort. Here is what he had to say about the shape of the Olympic halfpipe, his comments about White and his plans after the Olympics.
Dan Egan watched the women's halfpipe competition at the Olympics alongside the parents of gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington. Watch his video report above.
Wise has been on top for a long time and he knows here at the Olympics he represents all of the pioneers of the sport who aren't in Sochi, such as Simon Dumont and others.
He began competing in halfpipe at a young age, winning his first US national title at age 15 and then turning professional at 18. Wise kicked off a dominant winning streak in 2012, winning the Winter X Games, The Dew Tour finals, and The Grand Prix finals consecutively and has not looked back since.
"I definitely have set myself up for Sochi by winning the X Games again this year. I'm just so excited to be here at the Olympics for the Opening Ceremonies and all that goes on here at the Games, especially now that halfpipe skiing is part of this whole scene."
Wise has perspective, experience and talent and he knows what it will take to win in Sochi. The men's and women's halfpipe will be the event to watch on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
The US women’s hockey team is one of the best in the world, and it has two women at the helm who know how to win.
Reagan Carey and Katey Stone have both been on the international stage of women’s professional and amateur sport.
“I’ve been the GM of the US Hockey women’s program for the last four years and I love it,” said Carey, just days before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Carey is a 2001 graduate of Colby College, where she played four years of collegiate hockey and volleyball. She was the recipient of the 2010 Colby College Carl E. Nelson Sports Achievement Award, a. And prior to joining USA Hockey, Carey was the director of fan development and youth marketing for the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers and NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.
“She was one of the captains of the Colby College women's ice hockey team when I was on the team as a freshman. She led by example on and off the ice ... pushing the team to train harder … Reagan has a rare ability to encourage/push her teammates beyond what they think they are able to do,” said Christina Dotchin, the admissions director at Proctor Academy in Andover, NH, and aformer teammate of Carey’s.
The US women have been training in Boston, and their coach, Katey Stone, is also the hockey coach at Harvard University. Her accomplishments are amazing. Stone is the all-time wins leader in women’s college hockey. She completed her 19th season behind the Harvard bench in 2012-13 and has led the Crimson to a 402-171-35 (.690) record, which included the 1999 American Women’s Collegiate Hockey Alliance national championship and three straight appearances in the NCAA championship games.
Thanks to these two women and their passion for the game, many young players have been coming to watch them train and scrimmage.
“Its been a great way for us to showcase our program to younger players and that is what it is all about for us,” Carey said.
Youth hockey for both boys and girls is on the rise, just last season. USA Hockey boasted 510,279 members, the second most all-time and just under 1,000 fewer than the record 511,178 set in 2011-12.
As for the US women’s outlook for the Olympic tournament, Carey was cautious and confident.
“We don’t overlook any team. It's the Olympics, everyone is here to win. We have been training hard and we come in here with a lot of confidence," Carey said.
Listen to my full Radio BDC interview with Carey below:
SOCHI, Russia – Skiing moguls is a state of mind that requires an inner calm, a spirit of a warrior and the spontaneity of a cat. Scott Rawles was one great mogul skier. He won the World Pro Mogul multiple times and has been the head moguls coach for Team USA since 2006.
In that time, he has put the US mogul skiers back on top of the world stage.
Rawles has been a mogul master for close to 30 years. He dominated the World Pro Mogul Tour in the 80s, along with his two brothers, Kirk and Mike. The Rawles Brothers set the standard of would would become the foundation for what would become Olympic mogul skiing.
Just as ESPN and the X Games launched today’s Olympic sports such as halfpipe and slopestyle, it was the Rawles brothers' passion and dedication that kept pro mogul skiing alive on television with sponsors and eventually provided the popularity that eventually led to it becoming an Olympic Sport and produced Olympic mogul pioneers such as Donna Weinbrecht and Johnny Moseley
Scott Rawles' dedication to his craft starts with his love for skiing. From the humble beginnings as a ski bum in Breckenridge, Colo., in 1979 to seven-time winner of the World Pro Mogul Tour and coaching a record three medalists at the 2010 Olympics, he has very little to prove in Sochi.
"He'll go camp in his van for a weekend at the base of a ski area just to go skiing. I think that's the definition of a ski bum," said Olympic bronze medalist Bryon Wilson.
Rawles won’t be seeking the spotlight here in Sochi. He’ll let his skiers do that.
Rather, he is looking forward to grabbing some powder turns after the games are over and enjoying the sport that provided him with a road to gold medal memories.