Flipping over Sochi

A Montana-centric guide to the Winter Olympics

| February 06, 2014

Page 2 of 5

Did you stomp it first?

MV: No, sadly not. But I was the first one to attempt it, so I give myself credit for that.

After Sochi, is there anything you're looking at as a longterm goal?

MV: I feel like I'm at the tippy-top right now, but I don't know. There's a lot more I want to do. For me, just because the Olympics is the top and X Games is the top, I definitely just want to keep personally progressing the sport of women's freeskiing. I think that's really important for me.

1 "switch 10" or "switch 1080" is a 1,080-degree spin—or three complete rotations—where the skier starts and lands backwards.

2 "switch 9" or "switch 900" is a 900-degree rotation where the skier goes off the jump backwards but lands forwards.

3 720 is a 720-degree rotation.

4 Slopestyle is an event that combines various terrain park features, usually beginning with a series of rails and ending with a series of large jumps.

by Alex Sakariassen




Faster, higher, stronger—and smarter

14 facts about the 2014 Winter Olympics to impress your friends

1. Andrija Vukovic, a 19-year-old member of the Serbian Alpine Ski Team, is a freshman at Rocky Mountain College in Billings.

2. The Sochi Winter Olympics cost Russia an estimated $51 billion, more than $40 billion over budget. It's not only the most expensive Olympics ever, but you could pay for every other Winter Olympics combined—and probably have enough left to help the city of Missoula buy Mountain Water Co.

3. The 2014 Winter Olympics will feature eight new sports: ski slopestyle, ski halfpipe, snowboard slopestyle, snowboard parallel special slalom, women's ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, luge team relay and a figure skating team event.

4. Gary and Angelica di Silvestri, married cross country skiers representing the small Caribbean island nation of Dominica, trained in Big Sky this winter prior to flying to Sochi. The couple is funding their own expenses for the Winter Games, where Angelica will compete in the 10km women's cross-country race and Gary the 15km men's event. They are Dominica's first-ever winter Olympians.

5. Seven gold medals handed out on Feb. 15, including the women's super-G, will contain fragments of the giant meteor that struck Russia a year ago on the same date.

6. Whitefish's Maggie Voisin is the youngest U.S. Winter Olympian since 1972. That year, two 14-year-old speed skaters, Kay Lunda and Connie Carpenter-Phinney, competed in Japan. Lunda placed seventh in the 500m, while Carpenter-Phinney finished seventh in the 1500m. Carpenter-Phinney, however, went on to win gold in cycling at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Bozeman’s Heather McPhie, who will compete for the second time in Olympic moguls, performs a “back layout” in Zermatt, Switzerland, in 2013. - PHOTO COURTESY GARTH HAGER
  • photo courtesy Garth Hager
  • Bozeman’s Heather McPhie, who will compete for the second time in Olympic moguls, performs a “back layout” in Zermatt, Switzerland, in 2013.

7. Butte native and freestyle skier Bryon Wilson earned a bronze medal in the men's moguls competition at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Though Bryon didn't qualify for this year's games, his younger brother, Brad, will compete. (Read our interview with Brad on page 16.)

8. Looking to protest Russia's deplorable human rights record? In Sochi, protesters are confined to a designated park south of the city in Khosta, and must have a Russian government permit to legally hold a demonstration.

9. Montana State University offers a "microcourse" led by research-level faculty that uses the Winter Olympics to teach students about sports nutrition, biomechanics and psychology.

10. Bozeman's Heather McPhie competes in her second Olympics in women's moguls, but her teammate, Hannah Kearney, is favored to win. Kearney took the gold in Vancouver in 2010.

11. NBC has scheduled more than 1,539 hours worth of coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics across six different platforms. (Check out our viewing guide on page 18 for highlights.)

12. A group of Gallatin Valley residents launched Big Sky Committee for Games in an effort to bring the 2026 Winter Olympics to Bozeman. We're not holding our breath. The group's website, bozeman2026.com, refers to Big Sky Resort as "Big Ski Resort."

13. All three Montana Olympians are competing in freestyle skiing events, which the U.S. has traditionally dominated. The U.S. has won more medals—14—than any other country and sent at least two members to the podium in all but one Olympics since 1992.

14. The U.S. freestyle ski team will wear uniforms designed by The North Face, featuring a piece of a Himalayan suit worn on a Mount Everest expedition.

by Independent staff




Finishing Strong

Butte's Bradley Wilson arrives in Sochi after one wild ride

Bradley Wilson could hardly contain his excitement after placing third in men's moguls at the Lake Placid qualifying event in mid-January. The Butte native—and younger brother of 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Bryon—thought the podium finish had secured his spot in Sochi, and so he celebrated the completion of a lifelong dream.

There was only one problem: He hadn't actually made the team yet.

Without knowing his spot in Sochi was still in question, Wilson notched a second straight podium finish less than a week later to officially punch his ticket to the Winter Olympics.

Wilson's dramatic qualifying run follows an impressive ascent for the 22-year-old. He ended the 2011-2012 season with a gold medal at the Junior World Championships and Rookie of the Year honors in men's moguls. He followed that in 2012-2013 with four World Cup podium finishes and his first career win in Japan. Now, he's off to Sochi with teammate Patrick Deneen.

We caught up with Wilson—and Deneen, sort of—on the day before they left for Russia.

Bradley Wilson, shown here at the 2013 Visa Freestyle International, will try to follow in his brother Bryon’s tracks in Sochi. Bryon won a bronze in men’s moguls in 2010. - PHOTO COURTESY ERIC SHRAMM
  • photo courtesy Eric Shramm
  • Bradley Wilson, shown here at the 2013 Visa Freestyle International, will try to follow in his brother Bryon’s tracks in Sochi. Bryon won a bronze in men’s moguls in 2010.

Indy: I know you're busy. Am I catching you at a good time?

Bradley Wilson: Yeah, we just drove into Denver from Steamboat, where we had a pre-Olympic training camp. We're just staying at an airport hotel for the night and we leave in the morning for Munich, then we're off to Sochi. I was just talking with Pat about how excited we are to get there.

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