What does it take to compete on skis or a snowboard in Sochi? Fierce determination and tons of PT for these three:
Lindsey Vonn tweeted today, "Thankful & happy to announce I will be starting in the World Cup downhill race tomorrow! #readytorace #iwill b #sochi2014." It is 10 months after her horrific crash at Schladming Austria and just weeks after her Copper crash on Nov 19. Vonn is fiercely determined to compete at Sochi despite her ups and downs, and defend her 2010 Gold in Downhill. I will be watching her Lake Louise Downhill performance - anxiously.
Meanwhile Maine's double Olympic Gold Medalist Seth Wescott just released his video “Surgery to Sochi,” a four-part series following Wescott from his knee injury in Alaskan last April, where he snowboarded one of the world's steepest descents into a crevasse. The video takes us through his recovery and rehab, in pursuit of his 3rd Gold in the Russia Olympics. You can view Seth's snowboarding video, three more episodes will drop December 24, January 15, and February 5, just prior to Wescott's departure for Sochi.
Another Mainer, free skier Simon Dumont is no stranger to injury but he is new to the Olympics. Dumont successfully petitioned the IOC to include Halfpipe skiing in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Dumont is a 10 time Winter X Games medalist, he holds the record for highest air recorded on the quarter pipe, set in 2009 at his home ski slopes of Sunday River. In 2012 Dumont suffered a knee injury, sidelining him for much of the season including his own Dumont Cup, but he returned to the 2013 Dew Tour at Breckenridge where he broke his right wrist, then shattered his left hand. He powered through and placed third at Aspen's X Games without poles because of his bum hands. But hey, this is a guy who overshot a jump in 2007, ruptured his spleen and broke his pelvis in three places - he's core and keeps going bigger. I am eager to see Simon's Olympic halfpipe debut.
I'm no gambler, but I wager this three Olympians will go big or big home. Dumont, Vonn and Wescott are fearless, resilient, and insistent. There are countless other athlete stories, alpine skiers and snowboarders, ready to compete at Sochi in 63 days for big reward, at big risk.
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.