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Local reporters ready to head to Sochi Olympics

January 23, 2014
Lake Placid News

The scrambling is done, the big preparations are made, and it's getting near time to pack bags. Staff writer Chris Knight got a welcoming email Monday, Jan. 20 from the Russian hotel he and sports writer Lou Reuter will stay at while they cover the Olympics.

Lou heard last week from Nikon Professional Services that his membership request was finally accepted, letting him borrow all kinds of cool camera gear at the Olympic press centers. And we've been poring over the Olympic schedule, making day-to-day coverage plans.

We're in kind of a sweet spot of anticipation for Sochi.

Our number-one attention focus, however, has always been the local Adirondack athletes we'll cover at the Olympic Winter Games in and around Sochi.

Seven of those who were born here, raised here and/or live here as their primary residence have clinched Olympic berths: biathletes Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke and Annelies Cook; luger Chris Mazdzer; New Jersey-raised bobsled pilot Jamie Gruebel; nordic combined skier Billy Demong; and ski jumper Peter Frenette.

Alpine skier Andrew Weibrecht, a Lake Placid native who won a bronze medal at the 2010 Olympics but has often been plagued by injuries, is on the fence. We'll find out Sunday whether he makes the team. We're rooting for him.

Lake Placid and the surrounding area is truly the nation's Winter Olympic heartland. It has sent at least one local athlete to every Winter Olympics. It was a Lake Placid speed skater, Charles Jewtraw, who won the first gold medal awarded in the first event of the first Winter Olympics, in 1924 in Chamonix, France. At the last Winter Games, in 2010, the area sent 12 Olympians, plus many more with ties to Lake Placid.

Chris will devote all his attention to the Adirondack Olympians of 2014. His trip is being funded by the Charles Decker Memorial Scholarship, which he wrote about in today's News (page 1).

Also on our radar are five Olympians who went to school in Lake Placid, mostly at the National Sports Academy. Congratulations to NSA, which produced many athletes who are a source of national and regional pride - including locals Billy Demong and Chris Mazdzer.

Lou will cover the locals as well as Olympians from the rest of New York state. Fifteen of those have clinched. In this, Lou is working for the newspapers of the New York Press Association.

We are grateful to both of these wonderful sponsors: the Decker Scholarship and NYPA. We're raring to go and make them proud.

As we have in other Winter Olympics, we'll publish a special second section in every issue of this newspaper during the Games. It will be loaded with stories and photos of local relevance from Lou and Chris, plus the best of the games by the Associated Press, all laid out big, bold and colorful - a wonderful thing to read and to save as a historical keepsake.

Our website, meanwhile, will be the first place to check for Olympic news, both local and international. Already the site's Winter Olympic Sports category contains all kinds of local coverage plus a special section with a wealth of up-to-the-minute news, features, photos, graphics and other material from the AP.

Make sure to stick with us throughout the Olympics, online and in print. We'll be your best source.



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