Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
Americans and people around the world have gathered by their televisions to cheer on athletes in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Thanks to talented Idahoans competing this year we have had the opportunity to applaud local Olympians. Idahoans earned two gold medals and one silver medal. They contributed three of the U.S. team's 28 total medals.
Idaho has been well-represented on the U.S. Olympic team:
- Nick Cunningham, a graduate of Boise State University where he captained the track team, is a Sergeant in the New York National Guard. At Sochi, Nick earned 12 th place in the two-man bobsled and 12 th in the four-man bobsled competitions. Nick placed 12 th in two-man bobsledding at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and helped earn two gold medals on the America's Cup tour and a silver and bronze medal at the 2009 National Championships.
- Kaitlyn Farrington, who earned a gold medal competing for the first time as an Olympic snowboarder in the halfpipe competition at Sochi, was raised on a ranch in Bellevue. Kaitlyn took 4 th place at the 2013 World Championships, 5 th place at the 2013 World Cup Sochi and was a bronze medalist at the 2013 World Cup Park City.
- Erik Fisherof Middleton went to Sochi as part of the U.S. Olympic team. Erik, an alpine skier, was born in Boise and learned to ski at Bogus Basin. Erik was on the 2010 U.S. Olympic team for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, was on the 2009 World Championships team and earned a 2011 Europa Cup downhill victory in Samtal, Italy and 2006 NorAm super G championships.
- Simi Hamilton, a Sun Valley skier, competed in cross country skiing in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games where he placed 6 th in the men's team sprint classic and 11 th in the men's 4x10k relay. Simi also competed in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games where he placed 13 th in the men's 4x10k relay, 29 th in the men's sprint and 64 th in the men's 15k.
- Nate Holland, who grew up in Sandpoint and has a water sports business on Lake Pend Oreille, placed 25 th in men's snowboardcross in Sochi. He placed 4 th in men's snowboardcross in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and 14 th in men's snowboardcross in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.
- Jessika Jensonof Rigby competed in the first Olympic snowboard slopestyle competition in Sochi where she finished 13 th. Jessika's snowboarding accomplishments include placing 4 th in the 2012 Sprint U.S. Grand Prix.
- Hilary Knightof Sun Valley competed once again in women's hockey in the 2014 Winter Olympics where the team earned a silver medal. She also earned a silver medal as part of the U.S. women's hockey team in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Hilary scored 5 goals in achieving the silver medal at the 2012 World Championships and earning the gold medal at the 2011 World Championships.
- Sage Kotsenburg, a Coeur d'Alenenative, took home the first-ever gold medal in the new men's slope style event and the first U.S. gold medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
- Sara Studebakerfrom Boise competed in her second Olympics in biathlon competitions at Sochi where she helped earn a 7 th place finish in the Women's 4x6k Relay Biathlon. She placed 34 th in the Individual race in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Olympic athletes' significant commitment to excellence is commendable. Their determination and commitment to training and preparation are inspiring. Olympians inspire us to push beyond the limits of what we may think is possible. Congratulations to Idaho and American Olympians on their extraordinary efforts during these Olympics and their many achievements.
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