The Road to Sochi

Over the next few months we’ll Introduce you to home-grown athletes and what it takes to be at the top of their sport.

This year, ten athletes who trained in Aspen are vying to compete in Sochi. All of them are currently on national teams and are alumni of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, which has been training Olympians for decades. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen spoke with Mark Cole, Director of the Club.

List of AVSC alumni who are currently competing on national teams. They're working to compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on February 7, 2014.

Alice McKennis

Katie Ryan

Wiley Maple

Jordie Karlinski

Gretchen Bleiler

Torin Yater-Wallace

Alex Ferreira

Noah Hoffman

Simi Hamilton

Michael Ward

Meg Olenick

Jeremy Abbott

Support for the "Road to Sochi Series" on Aspen Public Radio comes from The Ute Mountaineer, a family owned and operated outdoor specialty store serving the Aspen community since 1977. The Ute offers technicalclothing and gear for back country and cross country skiing, alpine touring, telemarking, and snowshoeing, along with advice to select the gear for your needs. More at utemountaineer.com.

Roger Witney/USSA

This week marks the end of our Road to Sochi series. For 22 weeks, we’ve followed a dozen local athletes as they worked their way toward competing in the Winter Olympics. Most didn’t make it because of injuries and fierce competition. Still, four athletes are there, competing for Team USA. Today we take a look back at the twelve athletes and their quest for an Olympic chance.

Facebook/Twin Biathletes

On Friday, a Colorado biathlete will compete in her first Olympic event in Sochi and her bid for an Olympic medal is thanks to her twin sister. Durango’s Lanny Barnes initially didn’t make Team USA, her sister did. But, in January, Lanny’s sister decided to give up her Olympic spot so Lanny could compete. Since then, the sisters have received loads of press from around the world. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

abcnews.go.com

The four Aspen-area athletes competing in the Winter Olympics arrive in Russia this week as the country prepares for opening ceremonies on Friday. Security in Sochi has been closely scrutinized after two suicide bombings killed 34 people in another Russian town in late December. And, the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory last month for Americans traveling to the Games. Still, a spokesman for the International Olympic Committee says security is being handled well by Russian authorities. For local athletes and family members traveling to Russia, safety is something they’re thinking about. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

ESPN

Aspen athlete Torin Yater-Wallace is heading to the Olympics next month and, he’ll be ushering in a new discipline: Ski Halfpipe. The 18-year-old has been a standout ever since he began training with the local ski club in grade school. This season, he’s coming back from injuries suffered early in the season but, he says he’s feeling confident about the Olympic Games. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Jack Dempsey/AP

Aspen athlete Chris Klug knows a thing or two about participating in the Olympics. The three-time Olympic snowboard racer no longer competes but fondly remembers his time on the international stage. Klug defied the odds, earning a bronze medal in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City after receiving a liver transplant. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen sat down with him recently to talk about what the rising stars in snowsports can expect in Sochi.

nordic.usskiteam.com

History could be made at next month’s Winter Olympics in cross country skiing. Ski experts say the United States’ cross-country skiing team is the strongest it’s ever been. And, two of its members are from Aspen. This month, Noah Hoffman and Simi Hamilton learned they’re heading to Sochi. Hoffman specializes in distance racing. Hamilton excels in sprints. The United States hasn’t picked up a medal in cross-country skiing since 1976. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

The Crash Reel

As the Olympic Games get closer, the competitions are heating up. The Aspen-area athletes competing in ski racing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, snowboarding and freeskiing will find out soon whether they’ve made Team USA. Some local athletes compete in the halfpipe like snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler and freeskiers Torin Yater-Wallace and Alex Ferriera. Skiing Halfpipe is a new discipline at the upcoming Olympics. Just like many competitions, this event can be dangerous and even fatal. A new documentary features 2010 Olympic hopeful Kevin Pearce who crashed during training and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

alpine.usskiteam.com

The Aspen area athletes vying for a spot on Team USA are competing in Olympic qualifying contests. Months of training lead up to this time of the year when athletes throw their best tricks and ski as fast as they can. But for some, the season is cut short because they get hurt. That’s the case for ski racer Wiley Maple. The 23-year-old was anticipating competing for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. As he explains, the setback is difficult but somewhat common in the world of sports. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen spoke with Maple.

Leary O'Gorman

As the Olympic Games get closer, athletes like figure skater Jeremy Abbott are working hard to make Team USA. The three-time U.S. champion and Aspen native has yet to deliver on the world stage. Abbott wants 2014 to be the year he takes a medal. With only two spots open on the U.S. men’s figure skating team, the competition is tough. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Aspen Historical Society/Tony Gauba collection

Over the last several weeks, we’ve heard from nearly a dozen athletes working toward competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics. That’s a big number and it isn’t uncommon. For decades, Aspen’s been either a hometown or training grounds for Olympic athletes. Since the 1930s, nearly thirty athletes with ties to Aspen have competed in the Olympic Games. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

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