State champion spotlight – Muzi Gazioglu |

State champion spotlight – Muzi Gazioglu

Chris Freud

It’s a hard name to spell or pronounce, but after this weekend’s state-skiing meet, it’s safe to say that Battle Mountain junior Muzi Gazioglu has made a name for himself. He won gold in the giant slalom and added silver in the slalom. What’s more, he skipped an opportunity to compete in a Nor-Am race in Big Mountain, Mont., where he could have competed for a spot on the U.S. Devleopmental Ski Team to compete for his teammates, a very selfless act. Next up for Gazioglu is next month’s J2 National Meet in Lake Placid, N.Y. For more on Muzi, read on:

Date of birth: March 1, 1987

Born in: Washington, D.C. – Moved to Vail when he was 6, and lived in Turkey in the years in between.

Turkey?: “I go there every summer. I spend a lot of time with my family because a lot of my family members live there. It’s really good place to go for vacation because there’s nice beaches and it’s warm. I have a lot of family from my dad’s side and also on my mom’s side, too. We’re pretty close together as a family. I live here with my mom and my dad lives there. So, I go visit him.”

What was the adjustment like moving to Vail?: “I knew a little bit of English because my mom knew English. She grew up in America. She started speaking to me in English when I was really young. I knew a little bit of English, but I wasn’t totally fluent, though.”

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Parents: Halide (pronounced “Holiday”) and Gazi Gazioglu

Siblings: Elis, 15, BMHS freshman

Class: Junior

How many different versions of your name have you seen?: “You know how it ends with a “u?’ I see a lot of “e’s. I see a lot of people forgetting the second “g.’ Just all kinds of things.”

What was your first run in GS at state like?: “I was two-tenths of a second behind. I wasn’t really worried. I kind of like being in second. If you’re in first, it doesn’t seem to make you push yourself so hard. It seemed to work out well.”

Take us through you second run: “It was pretty clean. I had no major mistakes. I skied solid enough, while the other kids made some tactical mistakes.”

Did you think you had won?: “When I came down, the kid who had won the first run (Thomas Allen of Steamboat) still had to run. You can’t say you’ve won a race until the race is over. I knew I’d be in the top-three. It didn’t really matter if I ended up second or won. It wouldn’t make a difference. He’s a pretty good friend of mine. He’s a good skier and he deserved it just as much as I did.”

How’d it feel to win?: “I was happy, especially because it helped the team. It was good.”

Were you thinking about double gold in the slalom?: “Yeah, I was thinking about that. On the first run, I didn’t ski that well. I just wanted to finish solid for the high school team. On the second run, I had a few mistakes at the top, but I fixed them. I finished second, which was kind of a bummer. But, second’s good too.”

What do you like about ski racing?: “It’s really tough physically, but also mentally. Anything can go wrong. It’s an individual sport but at the same time, it’s a team sport. So, there’s a lot of pressure. That’s what I like about the sport.”

How do you work with your teammates?: “Andy Banner and Robert Gosiewski and I all ski for Ski (and Snowboard) Club Vail, so we always push each other. We train together. Basically, we always watch each other.”

Best moment in skiing: “I think that’s yet to come. I had some good moments when I was young. But, ski racing is now getting fun when you begin to start traveling and so forth. I’d like to race in college races. I’m going to J2 Nationals in Lake Placid (N.Y.) next month.”

Does state give you some momentum?: “Yeah, it was good. It really helps you with the pressure. It’s more experience and it turned out pretty good. Hopefully, I’ll do well in New York.”

Most embarrassing moment in skiing: “A couple of years ago, I went to almost every race and ended up not finishing. Especially when you’ve traveled eight hours on the road and you haven’t finished, it feels like you’ve wasted a lot of time. But, in reality, it’s just experience. That’s how this sport is. You do well. You do badly. It’s hard to be consistent.”

Funniest teammates: “Robert’s really funny and all the girls in the back of the bus.”

Favorite subject: “I really like all my classes. They’re all really different.” – Muzi takes AP world history, physics, French, precalculus and English.

College plans: “I need to go race in some FIS university races. That’s where I’ll get to talk to coaches and that’s how I’ll make up my mind. It’s tough because it’s pretty competitive.”

Career plans: “I’m not betting on a career in ski racing. But, if it happens, I’m not going to miss the opportunity either.”

Planned college major: Business administration

How does playing soccer in the fall help you with ski racing?: “Mr. (David) Cope told me at the beginning of the season that soccer really helps skiers. I think that’s true. There are so many aspects of soccer. It’s team sport. It helps you physically with your quickness. It helps mentally, too, because when you start playing well and start playing the tough teams, you have to keep your head high.”

Favorite sports to watch: Football, soccer and basketball

Favorite teams: Broncos, Fenerbace (a Turkish soccer team) and the Turkish National Team

Favorite basketball players: Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James

Favorite soccer player: Renaldo

Favorite skier: Bode Miller

Favorite TV Show: Punked on MTV

Favorite movies: The Godfather saga

Favorite movie star: Al Pacino

Mac or PC?: PC

Favorite Web site: “Google – because you can find everything.”

Powder day, where do you go?: Mushroom Bowl

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?: Spruce

If you were ruler of the world for one day, what would you do?: “I’d try to make ski racing a lot more popular in the United States.”

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