I have enjoyed watching the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Although Hawaii is not technically represented at the Sochi Olympics there are several Olympians with ties to Hawaii.
Justin Kripps is a Canadian bobsledder who has competed since 2006. Justin Kripps was born and raised in Hawaii and grew up in Summerland, BC. He races for Team Canada but he loves Hawaii. He named his two sleds after the Hawaiian goddesses Poliahu and Pele and carries a piece of Hawaii with him in his sled for every race.
He made his Olympic debut in Vancouver at the 2010 Olympics as a push athlete on Pierre Lueders’ team. He moved up to the pilot seat following the 2010 Olympics and, after just 2 seasons on the World Cup circuit, Kripps has qualified his sled for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Team Kripps is currently ranked 9th in the world for 4-man and 11th in the world for 2-man
Julia Mancuso is the most decorated US women’s skier going into the Sochi Olympics. She won a gold medal in 2006 and two silver medals in 2010. She won the bronze in Alpine Skiing Ladies’ Super Combined Slalom at the Sochi Olympics. Mancuso spends most of the year traveling the world as a pro skier. When she is not working she lives and trains in Hawaii.
Julia Mancuso says one of the benefits of training in Maui is the extreme juxtaposition between the Alps and the tropics helps stave off boredom, and lets her get in touch with nature. She trains at her outdoor gym on Maui as well as staying in shape with various ocean activities – including Maui Surfing and Swimming with Wild Dolphins.
Elena Hight was born on Kauai and later moved to Lake Tahoe. Elena Hight has said that if she stayed in Hawaii she probably would have become a professional surfer. She started snowboarding when she was 6 years old. Hight was the first woman to land a 900 in competition at only 13 years-old. She made the Olympic team in 2006, where she was sixth, and again in 2010, where she took 10th.
In the 2013 season, Hight made history at X Games Aspen and took women’s snowboarding to a whole new level. She was the first snowboarder (male or female) to perform a double backside alley-oop rodeo in a halfpipe competition.
Unfortunately she didn’t make the 2014 Olympic team at the final qualifiers in Mammoth. Hight said “I’m disappointed not to be representing my country in Sochi. It’s been a long road. Like my teammates, I put my heart and soul into training and riding. But it wasn’t my time.”
Hawaii Activities Fit for an Olympian
As I watch the Sochi Olympics I am in awe of the abilities of these athletes. I will never be an Olympian but I love that Hawaii provides the atmosphere to enjoy the beautiful islands while getting great exercise. With Hawaii Activities such as Surfing, Hiking, Snorkeling, Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Kiteboarding there is something for everyone whether or not you have a future in the Olympics.