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Family members give U.S. Olympians the extra morale to win medals

February 16, 2018
Editorial , Lake Placid News

We see it over and over. When Olympic athletes have their families nearby while competing on the international stage - even during non-Olympic years at World Cup events - they feel better, more grounded, and they perform better as a result.

We've seen it in the past when U.S. Olympic biathlete Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid had his wife Erika and young daughter Ophelia with him during past World Cup events. Sadly, they were not able to join him for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

"It's different to be here without them," Bailey told Karen Rosen, who wrote a story for the U.S. Olympic Committee's website about his first Olympic race on Feb. 11. "But I know that they every day support me and I them, and thankfully there's great Wi-Fi in the Olympic Village and we can video chat. I can wake them up in the middle of the night and talk to them. It'll be fine for the next three weeks, but I'll be glad to reunite at the end."

Bailey finished 33rd in the men's 10-kilometer sprint that day. Last year, he became the first American to win a world championships gold medal in biathlon for the 20-kilometer individual race. Erika and Ophelia were there at the race in Hochfilzen, Austria.

We saw the same kind of magic happen on Feb. 11 when Saranac Lake's Chris Mazdzer became the first U.S. Luge male athlete to win an Olympic medal in the singles event with a silver. As soon as he finished his fourth and final run, knowing he at least had a bronze medal in the bag, the first thing he did was run over to the stands to see his family.

This is nothing new. At every turn, we see Olympic medalists in Pyeongchang turn to their families at the finish lines or grandstands to give them hugs and kisses after completing a successful event.

Yet, at least for the USA Luge athletes, having family close by wasn't possible without the generosity of others. USA Luge's primary sponsor, Norton/Saint-Gobain, contributed funds to help pay for the family members of its 10 Olympic athletes to travel to South Korea - to witness history and offer their support.

That kind of support can't be measured, but you can bet - based on what we've seen and heard - that the Olympic family is a sure-fire morale booster and can give America's Olympians the extra energy they need to win more medals.

 
 

 

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