Vail Valley students cheer on Vonn, Schleper |

Vail Valley students cheer on Vonn, Schleper

Vail Valley Youth Foundation after-school program hosts pep rally for local Olympians

Vail Valley students in the Youth Foundation’s after-school program at Avon Elementary might be talking with scratchy voices Friday after all the screaming they did in honor of local Olympic skiers Lindsey Vonn and Sarah Schleper Thursday.

The students held a pep rally for the Vail ski racers, and everyone shouted their little lungs out as they watched a video of Vonn crossing the finish line in Wednesday’s Olympic downhill race, in which she won a gold medal.

Carlos Vasquez, 7, said he likes cheering for Vonn “because she always wins.” (Vonn, despite her reputation, crashed and finished without a medal in Thursday’s super-combined at Whistler).

Carlos’ friend, Victor Lira, 6, was just excited to be allowed to scream and shout at school without getting in trouble.

The kids jumped up and down and held signs they had printed to honor the Olympic ski racers. The pep rally is a good way to teach kids about team work and perseverance, said Youth Foundation spokeswoman Katie Santambrogio.

“We also want them to know what’s relevant and what’s happening in the world,” she said.

The kids had various reasons for cheering – some did it because they were told to cheer, but others were genuinely excited about watching locals compete in the Olympics.

Liam Bruno, 8, said he likes rooting for Vonn because she’s part of Ski Club Vail, and so is he. Deagen Fahrney, 8, said it’s hard not to get excited watching Vonn because she’s so good.

“When she wins, it’s exciting to see her and she’s so excited,” Deagen said. “She’s one of the best skiers in the world and I know she likes winning.”

For young skiers like Colby Lange, 10, watching Vonn helps create dreams. Colby skies with Ski Club Vail, too, and is hoping to make it to the Olympics “as soon as possible,” he said.

“It’s pretty cool – (Vonn) skied here a couple years and now she’s in the big show,” Colby said. “That’s a lot of progress for a small-town girl.”

The kids said they were excited to watch Schleper race, too. Schleper is scheduled to race next week in the giant slalom and slalom.

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Posted on: February 18, 2010