Vail Olympians shine |

Vail Olympians shine

Don Rogers
Don Rogers
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

Good snow, bad snow, Vail athletes have more events ahead than behind them at Sochi.

Mikaela Shiffrin, pride of Eagle-Vail along with Chris Del Bosco, of course is the headliner with Lindsey Vonn sidelined for the Olympics.

Others preparing for their quests include Aaron Blunck (ski halfpipe, Tuesday) Adam Crook (ski halfpipe), Annalisa Drew (ski halfpipe, Tuesday), Faye Gulini (boardercross, Monday), Noah Hoffman (Nordic races today, Sunday and Feb. 23). And oh yes, Shiffrin races Wednesday in the giant slalom and next Friday in the slalom, and Del Bosco chases gold Thursday in boarder cross.

So we have some exciting days just ahead.

We have connections to medal winners already. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete Kaitlyn Farrington is the big one so far, taking the gold medal in the women’s halfpipe this week.

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And Ayumu Hirano, all of 15 years old, took silver in the men’s halfpipe that saw mighty Shaun White’s reign end. Hirano, from Japan, looks like the future of this high-flying event. All 100 or so pounds of him.

Julia Mancuso, who won bronze this week in the super-combined to go with two silvers and a gold from Oympics past, has plenty of family connections to Vail, too. Yep, we’ll claim her even if she’s a Squaw Valley girl (where’s that, again?).

Heart of the Olympics

And let’s not forget the very heart of the Olympics for America so far. Heidi Kloser’s poise and good cheer after blowing out her right knee in training for moguls caught the admiration of a world of viewers and fellow athletes when she walked in the opening ceremonies. You know she’ll be back in the Games.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail need not worry about any loss of exposure with the queen of alpine, Lindsey, out of action, that’s for sure. Not that they are, mind you. There’s plenty for younger athletes in the program to see that they can kindle their own Olympian dreams with the knowledge that they have a genuine chance to make them real.

The school district’s academy that’s bound to the program is gold medal-worthy, too, on the scholastic side. Olympics, World Cup and all the other heady events aside, the academic work will have the far more important impact on these kids’ lives.

Our athletes have represented us extremely well so far. The early medal count is nice, but I’m thinking more about how they compete, the grace they’ve shown, their poise and good nature that shines through in interviews. Their character.

Sochi as a venue fits that little faux pas in the opening ceremonies that showed four rings and an asterisk.

There’s no such doubt about the spirit burning brightly in our Olympians. They are doing us proud. To bursting, actually.

Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at

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