NPR Story
11:47 am
Fri February 14, 2014

How They Fared: Whitman Student Skis First Race At Olympics

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:29 pm

A college ski racer from Sun Valley, Idaho says she is "immensely relieved" just to finish her first Winter Olympic race in one piece.

Whitman College student Jasmine Campbell finished in 56th place out of 75 starters in the giant slalom on Tuesday. The combined time of her two runs was 28 seconds behind gold medalist Tina Maze of Slovenia, who clocked a total time of 2:36.87.

"I don't believe I've ever skied in such awful conditions," Campbell wrote on her Facebook page. "It was raining so hard I had to wipe my goggles mid run so that I could see where I was going."

The 22-year-old is racing at the Sochi Games for the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she was born. Campbell's family moved to Sun Valley from the Caribbean when she was nine-years-old.

Elsewhere in the misty mountains above Sochi, North Idaho snowboarder Nate Holland unexpectedly failed to advance out of the first qualifying round of the men's snowboardcross event Tuesday. Holland briefly fell on a bump and lost valuable time during a twisting contest in which five snowboarders started simultaneously and then raced to the bottom.

After finishing a frustrating fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Games, Holland vowed to return and medal in the next Olympics. It was not to be though, and there probably won't be another chance in a future Olympics for the 35-year-old who divides his time between Sandpoint, Idaho and Squaw Valley, Calif.


Here is how Northwest athletes have fared to date:

Nick Cunningham - Bobsledding

On the sliding track, former Boise State University standout Nick Cunningham piloted the USA-2 bobsled in the two-man competition this week. Cunningham's sled finished in twelfth place out of twenty teams. Cunningham will race again in the four-man event.

Sadie Bjornsen - Cross country skiing

Bjornsen had the best U.S. finish in the women's 10 kilometer classic race held on Thursday. She placed 18th. Bjornsen finished in 31st place in her first Olympic race, the women's skiathlon on Feb. 8. Sadie is the older half of a sibling duo from Washington's Methow Valley.

Erik Bjornsen - Cross country skiing

Bjornsen skied a strong second segment in the men's 4 x 10km relay on Sunday, in which Team USA finished in 11th place. On Friday, the Methow Valley, Wash., product finished in 38th place in the slushy 15 kilometer race. On Feb. 11, Bjornsen finished 39th in the men’s individual sprints. At the beginning of last week, he placed 42nd in the skiathlon (15km classic + 15km freestyle on Feb. 9), the first of many races for the younger half of the Mazama, Wash., sibling duo.

Brian Gregg - Cross country skiing

Gregg has finished in 47th place twice, first in the in the skiathlon on Feb. 9 and then again in the 15 kilometer race on Friday. The distance racing specialist, who was born and raised in Winthrop, Wash., will have another chance in the 50km freestyle race on the final day of the Sochi Games.

Roberto Carcelen - Cross country skiing

Carcelen sustained several bruised or broken ribs in a ski crash during training in Austria in mid-January. The lingering effects probably contributed to the Peruvian-American's last place finish in his only 2014 Olympic race, the men's 15 kilometer event on Friday. The Swiss winner of the race stuck around at the finish line for more than half an hour in order to congratulate Carcelen on his gutsy performance - a fitting display of Olympic spirit on both sides. Carcelen raced for Peru, whose flag the Seattle-based e-commerce consultant carried in the Opening Ceremony.

Holly Brooks - Cross country skiing

Brooks skied to a 35th place finish in the women's 10 km classic event on Thursday. She finished in 47th place in the women's skiathlon on Feb. 8. This 31-year-old Seattle native (now living in Anchorage) learned to ski at Snoqualmie Pass.

Christian Niccum - Doubles luge

Niccum, of Woodinville, Wash., finished in eleventh place in the doubles competition Wednesday. The three-time Olympic slider was paired with Jayson Terdiman. On Thursday, that combo had the seventh fastest time in the doubles portion of the team relay event, in which Team USA finished sixth overall. The relay ride was probably the 36-year-old Niccum's final Olympic appearance.

Kaitlyn Farrington - Snowboarding

Farrington beat three prior Olympic champions to win the gold medal in women's snowboard halfpipe on Feb. 12. The 24-year-old self-described "cowgirl" from Bellevue, Idaho is a product of the Sun Valley ski and snowboard program.

Jackie Wiles - Alpine skiing

The 21-year-old U.S. Ski Team rookie from Aurora, Ore., finished in 26th place in the women's downhill. "There were some nerves today, but I feel like I channeled that into some good energy," Wiles said in a team statement on Feb. 12. Wiles skied for the White Pass, Wash., racing team in her teens.

Hilary Knight - Ice hockey

On Monday, the U.S. women's ice hockey team advanced into the gold medal game with a 6-1 semifinal victory over Sweden.  Forward Hilary Knight of Sun Valley, Idaho had 12 shots on goal during the game, but uncharacteristically for her in this tournament, she did not score. The U.S. team will play Canada for gold on Thursday.  Last week in a preliminary game, Canada edged the USA, 3-2. Knight scored the first goal of that game. Earlier, Knight chalked up a goal and an assist in an opening 3-1 victory over Finland and she contributed another goal and an assist in a subsequent 9-0 shutout of Switzerland.

Kent Callister - Snowboarding

Callister finished in ninth in the men's halfpipe final on Feb. 11. That was the same event in which USA superstar Shaun White placed an inglorious fourth. Callister competed for Australia in Sochi and was the only Aussie in the men's final. The teen from Bend, Ore., has dual American and Australian citizenship.

Sara Studebaker – Biathlon

The Boise native started the work week with back-to-back races combining cross country skiing and target shooting. On Monday, Studebaker placed 44th in the 7.5km sprint. Tuesday she finished further back, 51st in the women’s 10km pursuit. On Friday, she missed four targets. The resulting time penalties knocked her back to 55th place in the 15 kilometer event.

Simi Hamilton – Cross country skiing

The Sun Valley Olympic development team alumnus started his campaign in Sochi with a 27th place finish in the men’s individual sprint competition Tuesday. These are Hamilton’s second Olympics.

Torin Koos – Cross country skiing

The four-time Olympian from Leavenworth, Wash., also kicked off his racing in Sochi with the men’s individual sprint. Koos finished in 37th place.

Patrick Deneen - Freestyle skiing

The pride of Cle Elum, Wash., was edged out by the dominant Canadians in freestyle moguls. Deneen finished 6th in the moguls finals on Monday. Still, the result was better than the crash he suffered in the finals of the 2010 Vancouver Games.

J.R. Celski - Short track speedskating

The Federal Way, Wash., native just missed a medal in his first final in Sochi. He finished fourth in the men's 1,500-meters. Celski remains the top medal hope for the U.S. short track team.

Laurenne Ross - Alpine skiing

In the women's Super-G event Saturday, Ross did not finish the soft, rutted course. In a U.S. team statement, she said she harbors no regrets. "I came out there and gave it everything I had and stuff happens when you’re going for it." Earlier last week, Ross finished eleventh in a women's downhill that was most notable for producing an historic tie for first place. On Feb. 10, the 25-year-old U.S. Ski Team veteran from Bend, Ore., crashed and did not finish the super combined (a morning downhill followed by an afternoon slalom).

Jessika Jenson - Snowboarding

The Rigby, Idaho, snowboarder finished 14th in the debut of women's slopestyle at the Olympic Games.

The Sochi Games Opening Ceremony took place on February 7. Competition continues through Sunday, February 23.

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