Vail Daily editorial: A good few days
February 16, 2016
This has been a great few days for several Vail Valley athletes.
A brace of our youngsters attended, and excelled, at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
Skier River Radamus earned two gold medals at the events. Snowboarder Jake Pates is wearing a gold today, too. Competing in the ski halfpipe event, Paula Cooper earned a silver medal and Rakai Tait, of Eagle, who rides for New Zealand's Olympic team, earned a sixth-place finish.
That's all impressive and a credit to the work done by the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy and Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. The time, effort and money put into both dry-land and on-mountain training seems to be creating a group of outstanding young competitors.
Meanwhile, local ski cross competitor Chris Del Bosco was in Sweden earning a second-place finish at an event there.
Then there's Mikaela Shiffrin, who Monday won a World Cup slalom event in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. That might be the most remarkable story of a remarkable few days.
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Shiffrin, you may recall, injured her right knee in December while training in Sweden and was thought to be done for this season.
That initial thinking was wrong, of course, since she won her first race since her injury by nearly a half-second. That's a remarkable margin for any race, much less a competitor's first event after a serious injury.
It's just one more reason to root for Shiffrin, who at the tender age of 20 already has earned Olympic gold and three World Cup slalom titles.
Right now, it looks like turning the Vail Valley into a mecca for winter athletes — the work of decades — is really starting to bear fruit.
We've had a steady, if small, stream of top-flight skiers through those years of course. Lindsey Vonn is at the top of that list, of course, but from Cindy Nelson to Sarah Schleper, our valley has a long tradition of sending athletes to the world stage.
But these teen athletes may enlarge that stream, and in fairly short order. We wish all our home-grown athletes success and health as they continue their careers, wherever their sports may take them.