Golden Girls |


Golden Girls

Slopestyle Skiing
Grete Eliassen – 27, Salt Lake City, Utah

Almost 10 years after winning gold in the halfpipe at the 2005 Winter X Games in Aspen, Grete Eliassen is part of the U.S. Ski Team’s inaugural Olympic slopestyle team. For Eliassen, who’s known for her banzai backcountry runs, Sochi is a return to her roots. “I grew up ski racing, and then I switched because I wanted to be free, away from all the coaching and the regulations. Now I have a coach again,” she laughs. “For me, the Olympics are just like a little bonus. I love to ski. That’s all I really want.”

“I get to travel the world and ski all these places for free—I like to say it’s playing rich. I get to go to Aspen, Austria, Italy, stay right slopeside of the hill, ski the best terrain, go helicopter skiing. It’s pretty amazing. But then I do all the contests, and it’s down to the line. If you don’t perform, you’re out.”

“The Olympics are the Super Bowl for women’s sports. Every two years, I know I can turn on the television and watch ski jumping, judo, women’s ice hockey. Growing up, my idol was Suzy Chaffee—she was in the Chapstick commercials and it was the only women’s skiing thing that was on TV.”

“I’ve just come off of an injury [torn ACL] and now it’s full speed into the Olympics. I got bronze at the World Championships, which was awesome for just coming back. When I won the qualifier, I was like ‘Holy crap! It works! Everything works! It’s good!’ ”

Freestyle Ski Moguls
Heather McPhie – 29, Bozeman, Montana

For Heather McPhie at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, it came down to the final run. In the hunt for a medal, McPhie went out fast—too fast—got too much air on her final jump, and crashed. Now, four years later in Sochi, McPhie is scheduled to compete on the first day of the Olympics. “My whole career, I’ve been climbing to this Olympics,” she says. “What I learned from Vancouver was that I need to train to go bigger—because that’s what I want to do.”

“I always listen to music at the top and try to kind of dance and relax and get out of my mind. I feel like if I let my body do what I’ve trained it to do, I’ll do great. I can ski faster than I can think. If I’m thinking about it, I’m a step behind.”

“I try to take a moment to take a couple really deep breaths and remember why I started. I go back to memories of being young and just loving the sport and being outside in the mountains. You can get bogged down by worrying about results, but it’s just not worth it.”

“My Olympic ring has my last name and my sport on it. They give it to every U.S. athlete that goes to the Games. And I love it. You remember how hard you’ve worked. And then other days, you’re like, ‘OK, I want that again.’ And I want more this time.”

For more on this story, please click here.


Posted on: November 21, 2013