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Freestyle Skiers Visit Sochi

Three years away from the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the Canadian Olympic Committee travelled to Sochi for its third site visit. And they brought some national freestyle skiers along with them.

From Feb. 20 to March 3rd, the COC held one of its many site visits in preparation for the next Olympic competition. The goals are largely to get a feel for the set-up around Olympic venues and landmarks, as well as to make 2014 Olympic hopefuls comfortable in what will be an electric Olympic atmosphere three Februarys from now. The COC also used the visit to learn about the upcoming Olympic environment, build relationships with the Sochi organizing committee and sport partners, and finalize locations for Games operations in 2014.

Joining the COC’s Derek Covington and Carla Anderson and Own the Podium’s Geret Coyne were 13 members of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association and Robert Rouselle, managing director of Alpine Canada. The freestyle moguls skiers who were in Sochi for the site visit and hoping to return in 2014 were Olympic champion Alex Bilodeau, Mikael Kingsbury, Cedric Rochon, Phil Marquis, and sisters Chloé and Justine Dufour-Lapointe.

There in Sochi, the team was able to get a feel for the surroundings and familiarize themselves with Russian culture, including language and food choices. Seeing landmarks in the position of tourists will allow them to focus only on skiing when the Olympic Winter Games arrive. The athletes were also able to ski the mountain where the moguls course will be constructed. The overarching ambition was to help make Sochi 2014 feel more tangible and realistic in the athletes’ minds. This will motivate the skiers to do well and qualify for the Games.

“It was a really valuable trip that gave me a visual perspective of what competing at Sochi 2014 will be like,” said Chloé Dufour-Lapointe, who was fifth in moguls at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “The ski resort is great and I feel much more comfortable with the overall surroundings than I had been.”

There was, on the trip, a literal interpretation of athletes overcoming obstacles to reach their goals: at one point, the team left the bus to help pick up and move a small car that was blocking the way.