I obtained a press pass and photographed the U.S. Alpine Championships 6 years ago in Girdwood. It was a great experience. During the week there was only a hand full of spectators along with these amazing athletes. At the time the mens’ team was stacked with famous skiers like Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves, but on the womens’ side were a bunch of young, outgoing, energetic ladies that were relatively unknown including Lindsey Vonn (Kildow at the time) and Julia Mancuso. Today both those ladies are Olympic gold medalist, and Lindsey Vonn is considered the best U.S. Skier ever! I was rooting hard for them yesterday as they won gold and silver at the Olympic downhill.
I gotta admit I have always been an Olympic junkie, but this year seems extra special, probably for a few reasons. Having photographed some of the Alpine team brings some extra attachment as did our trip to Vancouver last winter to photograph the Olympic facilities – for once the Olympic venue sights are all very familiar. Having a huge Alaska contingency also helps – including two ladies who run in the Seward Mt. Marathon race every summer. Finally, we found that the residents of Vancouver and Whistler to be the nicest people we have encountered in our travels, and for this reason I find myself pulling for the Canadians and want to see them host a successful Olympics.